The former Dillard’s department store and parking garage at Ward Parkway Center will soon be demolished to clear the way for new businesses.
RED Development, the manager and developer of the shopping center at 8600 Ward Parkway since mid-2009, said Thursday that the move would help it reposition the property, perhaps attracting more national retailers. RED plans other renovations at the center, although it is not releasing details at this time. RED also is seeking city approval to form a community improvement district at the southwest Kansas City shopping center to help pay for further improvements there.
Dillard’s converted the store to a clearance outlet in mid-2008 before closing it in late 2009. The four-story building has been difficult to lease or sell since many retailers are moving to buildings that are smaller or have just one level.
The parking garage is blocked off and considered unsafe.
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Still, RED said it had seen a surge of interest in the center from retailers in the last six months, especially after Trader Joe’s, a specialty grocery store chain, announced plans to open there this summer.
Instead of trying to fit a tenant to the spot, RED wants to fit the spot to the tenant, said Dave Claflin, a RED spokesman. An empty lot would give the developer more options.
“We want something that moves the center forward to continue the growth of the center,” he said.
The renewed interest also convinced the owners, Cornerstone Real Estate Advisors LLC in Chicago, to invest in the improvements and position the center for additional development.
This week, RED petitioned the city to implement a community improvement district at the center. If approved, stores would collect an extra 1 percent tax on sales to help finance improvements at the shopping center.
Claflin said demolition would begin soon. He said private funds would be used for the work, so it would not depend on getting approval for the community improvement district.
Ward Parkway Center, which opened in 1959, is about 85 percent occupied (not counting the Dillard’s building). Other tenants include Target, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Starbucks, and Five Guys Burgers and Fries. The center has gone through several major renovations over the years.