Archive for Thursday, March 2, 2006

Village West district: Just 10 percent of land remains

March 2, 2006

An interactive restaurant featuring life-size dinosaurs. Got it. A resort complete with 40,000 square feet of indoor water rides. Check.

A brewery that serves signature brand beers, a large aquarium inside one of the largest outfitters in the Midwest and a romantic hideaway tucked quietly away from the hustle and bustle. Yep, yep and yep.

T-Rex, Great Wolf Lodge, Granite City Brewery, Cabela's and Chateau Avalon are but a few of the signature attractions at the Village West entertainment and tourism district in western Wyandotte County.

What new and entertaining feature will be added next? If Unified Government officials know, they aren't saying.

This week, Denise Hays, special projects coordinator for the Unified Government, said this week that only 35 to 40 acres of the highly successful Village West district remain available for development. It encompasses 400 acres overall.

She said Wyandotte County officials are in discussion with several potential tenants, but final deals are not imminent.

"We're talking to some potential users, but there is nothing in the form of a deal yet," Hays said.

"The sooner the better," she added. "That's provided we get a user or service that pays taxes and is complimentary to the whole."

Once Village West is complete, Wyandotte County officials are hoping the development fever catches on in nearby areas. Unified Government spokesman Don Denney said Village West was created as an economic development catalyst.

"Our hope and desire is not that it is confined to that area, (but) that this will lead to other developments throughout Wyandotte County," Denney said. "Now we want all of Wyandotte County to experience growth like this. ... We don't want to see anything stop just because Village West is filled."

The entertainment and tourism district has already spurred new businesses on the fringes, particularly at 110th and Parallel. There, Piper Plaza, an 18-acre retail center, is rounding out with new businesses. This spring, developers are slated to continue the development with another 25,000-square-foot building.

It was also a primary factor in landing the Schlitterbahn Vacation Village, a massive water-and-winter park, which could cost upward of $1 billion to build just east of Interstate 435.

"There are better opportunities for small business to prosper as well," Denney said.

Denney, like Hays, said because Village West has a proven track record of success, Unified Government can afford to be picky in choosing what new business for the remaining acreage.

"It continues to draw national interest," said Denney, referring to recent pieces about the development in The New York Times and Wall Street Journal. "On this final leg, I think we can allow ourselves to be selective."

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