A plan to combine a 208-unit upscale apartment complex with a trio of commercial lots in central Olathe received unanimous approval Oct. 3 from the City Council.
The Archer Subdivision project, proposed by 3 Parker Investments LLC, would build a series of two- and three-story apartment buildings on the back two-thirds of a 12.7-acre property west of Parker Street and south of Loula Street. Two private roads from Loula Street and a private road from Parker Street would serve both the apartments’ residents and customers to the three retail lots.
Several council members expressed concern about the private roads and said they have typically required new developments to have public roads to avoid future headaches if the city must take over maintenance of them.
John Petersen, an attorney representing the developer, asked the city to go ahead and approve the private roads for now while he develops language with City Attorney Rob Shaver that would make road maintenance part of the property’s covenants and allow the city to bill the property owners if it needs to do repairs. He said the developers preferred owning the road to give them more control over how they reflected the development.
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“It’s the front door to our community,” Petersen said.
The council members agreed but said they could require public roads if the two sides haven’t come up with a compromise by the time developers return to seek approval for the development’s final plan.
Developers haven’t said what types of companies they are trying to attract for the three commercial slots, but each building will include between 5,600 and 6,000 square feet.
They also said they would outfit the apartments with luxury styles, such as high ceilings and granite countertops, and unit rents would range from $750 to more than $1,000 a month.
“I like the way this looks and think it will add to the area,” Councilwoman Marge Vogt said.
The development will require tearing down the Hubbard House, a 19th century home at 301 S. Parker St. that belonged to one-time Johnson County surveyor David Hubbard. Besides being one of the county’s first surveyors, Hubbard is also known for being wounded during an attack by soldiers under Confederate raider William Quantrill in 1863.
The home, which is not on the National Historic Registry, has been vacant for some time, said Sean Pendley, a senior planner for the city.
Pendley said the city and historic preservationists have worked with the developer to possibly reuse parts of the house in the development and will be able to salvage historically significant items before demolition.
In other business, the council held a moment of silence in observance of the Oct. 1 mass shooting during a country music concert in Las Vegas — the deadly mass shooting in U.S. history, which left 59 dead and more than 500 wounded.
“Our hearts go out to (Las Vegas) Mayor Goodman and the entire Las Vegas community and all those who are experiencing unimaginable pain,” Mayor Michael Copeland said. “I know we are holding those impacted by this tragedy close in our hearts and prayers.”
Council members also approved an ordinance authorizing the sale of up to $23 million in industrial revenue bonds to help Orizon Aerostructures build and equip a 205,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in the 56 Commerce Center Park at Old 56 Highway and Lone Elm Road.
These bonds will allow the developers to avoid paying sales taxes on the land, construction materials and equipment, but the developers and not city taxpayers are responsible for paying off the bonds.
The council on Sept. 5 approved tax incentives for the project, which also include a 10-year, 50-percent property tax abatement on the project.
Orizon, which is relocating its aircraft parts manufacturing business from North Kansas City, said initially they will move 65 workers to Olathe and increase its workforce by several hundred during the next few years.