An Overland Park real estate developer is launching the first phase of its plan to revive part of the once-thriving retail intersection at 21st and Amidon.
Work begins in March on a Walmart Neighborhood Market at the north end of the Marina Lakes Shopping Center, the first project by new owners Henzlik-Oliver Real Estate Cos. Marina Lakes is on the southwest corner of 21st and Amidon.
"The potential is tremendous," said Tyler Oliver, a partner in the Overland Park firm, "especially with the greatest retailer of all-time, Wal-Mart, solidifying the neighborhood, the intersection and the shopping center.
"We're going to build on it from there, backfilling with national retailers."
Henzlik-Oliver announced the purchase Wednesday afternoon. Terms were not disclosed.
Oliver said he was unsure when construction on the Walmart store would be completed.
The center was originally built in 1968 for Woolco, a discount chain that operated Woolworth stores, most which had closed in the United States by 1984.
Work begins with a 75,000-square-foot scrape and build for Walmart on the anchor site on the complex's north end near 21st Street.
Oliver said about 25,000 square feet of the original anchor store will remain, and will receive a complete face-lift to resemble the Walmart store.
The remainder of the L-shaped center — which is about 90 percent vacant — will be renovated, including facade improvements, Oliver said.
"We're going to start with junior department stores, clothing tenants, and then as far as small shop tenants will expand off the electronics niches, additional shoe stores, hair cutters and nail salons," Oliver said.
"We've had good tenant interest besides Walmart, but they will be the catalyst to kick off additional leasing, unquestionably. Grocery-anchored centers are in vogue again, sought-after real estate, and because it's Walmart, there will be tenants who want to lease with us because of them."
The Overland Park group will not seek city incentives to complete the project, Oliver said.
"We are financed privately, and this project is going to stand on its own without city incentives," he said.
Henzlik-Oliver isn't through with Wichita.
"It's a great community, and we're definitely interested in doing more in Wichita," Oliver said.
"The thing we like most about Marina Lakes is it's a good area, a strong demographic, a great infill location, and Dillons does fantastic across the street."