Archive for Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chamber learns of growth at Legends at Village West

March 25, 2010

A lot of buzz had been going on in Wyandotte County, largely focused on the Legends at Village West.

At the March 18 Basehor Chamber of Commerce meeting, Assistant Wyandotte County Administrator Gary Otiz gave members an update on all the action.

While Wyandotte has taken a hit with the troubled economy, several major projects are starting at Village West, most notably the Cerner Corporation and Wizards stadium, as well as a Hollywood casino.

“The engine of progress continues to drive forward,” Otiz said of the county’s response to the economic downturn. “And we are creating jobs, we are making business deals. In terms of the Legends, we’re still successful.”

Otiz said Village West currently attracted about 10 million people each year, and he estimated the latest projects would bring in an additional 5 million visitors. With this area bringing in about 50 percent of Wyandotte County’s sales tax each year, more development is an especially positive scenario.

The Cerner Corporation, which will have about 600,000 square feet of office space near Chateau Avalon, could have a stabilizing effect on restaurants in the area, Otiz said.

“The rumor is (Village West restaurants) do a bang up job on the weekends and kind of struggle through the week,” Otiz said.

One Basehor chamber member inquired about the state of the Legends shops, saying she visited lately when the sidewalks and stores were practically barren. Otiz said the stores were still bringing in consistent revenue, and many more were opening than closing. He also said the Legends could possibly take on more of an outlet mall feel in the future, as such stores were in demand during tough financial times.

“In a down economy, people are looking for a deal,” Otiz said about outlet shopping. “And I think the Legends might ride that wave.”

Rather than reformatting the stores currently open, Otiz said the Legends might seek future tenants that were more typical of an outlet mall instead of the full-retail stores open now.

All the growth in Village West may make it seem like the area is about to reach its commercial peak, but Otiz says it’s merely the commencement of what will be a much larger, more successful destination location.

“This thing is just beginning,” he said. “Now that we can advertise we attract 10 million people a year to that area, we’re talking Orlando attractions wanting to come and have a presence there. I know it sounds like a lot now, but it really is just beginning.”

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