By: Dan Rafter, March 7, 2018
Small plans? That’s not what the Bluhawk mixed-used development in Overland Park, Kansas, is all about.
The Bluhawk mixed-used development has already brought a Cosentino’s Market, medical clinic, public safety building and single-family homes to Overland Park. But Price Brothers, the developer of Bluhawk, is ready for round two, and this round will bring the planned 277-acre mixed-use development closer to the dream that Price Brothers president Douglas Price has of a true live/work/play community.
The next phase for the $750 million mixed-use development – officially known as Project Area 1 – will bring a 300,000-square-foot indoor, multi-sport complex; 3,500-seat, 120,000-square-foot civic and community center/arena that will be home to a high-level amateur hockey team; 99-room hotel; 70,000 square feet of new restaurant and retail; and a 133,500-square-foot neighborhood shopping center anchored by the existing Cosentino’s market.
The next phase of the project will include a science center, new hotel rooms, office space and retail.
The price tag for Project Area 1 is $205 million. Price Brothers is now in the planning and entitlement stage, and hopes to have several of the buildings of this phase open in the fall of 2019.
Bluhawk includes facilities such as the sport complex and arena for a reason, Price said: Retail today needs a boost. It’s no longer enough to plunk down stores and hope the shoppers show up.
“In today’s market, retail needs a stimulus,” Price said. “Our way of stimulating retail activity is bringing in the youth sports, the science center, the hospital. Retail ought to be surrounded with other uses if you expect it to be successful.”
Bart Lowen, vice president of development with Price Brothers, agreed, saying that the sports and entertainment components will be a major key to Bluhawk’s success.
“When you take on a retail project that has more than just retail, you are trying to create those experiences that will bring people to a location,” Lowen said. “If you just build retail in today’s market, it can be a challenge to get the people to come out. People today are more likely to respond to an experience that includes educational opportunities, tech centers, recreation and shopping, too.”
The hope? That people come to watch the hockey games, visit a science center or take in a national volleyball tournament. Then they’ll stay put to eat a meal or do some shopping. Some will stay in the development’s hotels.
To help make the sports portion of the project a success, Price Brothers has reached an agreement with Sport Stable in Superior, Colorado. Sport Stable will operate the indoor multi-sport complex.
Project Area 1, of course, won’t be the end of Bluhawk. Price Brothers is already planning Project Area 2 of the development. This phase, 32.7 acres, will include a 40,000-square-foot Cosmosphere Innovation Space, a science museum that will include space artifacts and interactive exhibits; 316,900 square feet of outlet retail and restaurant space; two hotels, one with 150 rooms and another with 100; 80,000 square feet of Class-A office space; and an 800-stall parking structure.
Bluhawk got its start in 2015, when Price Brothers began developing single-family home sites at an area bounded by 159th Street, 167th Street, Antioch Road and U.S. Highway 69 in Overland Park. Nearly all of the single-family home sites have since been sold. This early phase also includes the already open Shawnee Mission Health Blue Valley medical clinic, South Overland Park public safety administration building and Cosentino’s Market grocery store.
The development hasn’t come without challenges, of course, not surprising given its size and scope. The civic and community center/arena portion of the project that will be the home of an amateur hockey team did raise concerns among neighbors who worried that a facility that was too large would draw too much traffic to the area. Price Brothers has since revised the plans for these center to 3,500 seats. In addition to housing hockey games, it will be available to student- and family-focused events such as graduations, state athletic competitions and expos.
The indoor multi-sport complex has also evolved. Price Brothers and Sport Stable will share in the ownership of the complex, with Sport Stable managing it. This facility will host local, regional and national competitive and regional sports. It will feature rinks, fields and courts for amateur soccer, football, lacrosse, rugby, basketball, volleyball and baseball and softball.
“The goal is to draw people not just from the area but beyond it, too,” Lowen said. “We want to create an opportunity for people to come here and be here for a while. They can show up on a Thursday and Friday for a tournament and then stay at the hotels on site. You don’t get back in that car until Sunday evening. People will have eaten here, shopped here and stayed here. It’s a place full of experiences. It’s a place for health, technology and shopping.”