Mission Gateway deal has been killed yet again. What happens next with the long-vacant site?
After Aryeh Realty failed to pay more than $450,000 worth of property taxes on site of the former Mission City Mall, the Mission city council voted to terminate its redevelopment agreement. But the city says it has little immediate control over what to do with the site, which has sat vacant for 18 years.
Mission Gateway, the long-stalled project at Johnson Drive and Roe Avenue, is stalled yet again.
In a special meeting Monday, the Mission City Council unanimously adopted a resolution terminating the most recent redevelopment agreement with New York-based developers Aryeh Realty, LLC, which was approved earlier this year.
The city cited more than $450,000 worth of unpaid property taxes as its reason for ending the deal.
It’s a potentially fatal blow for Aryeh’s plans to bring a mixed-used development centered around an entertainment complex to the site of the former Mission City Mall.
Still, the city warns it has little immediate control over the mouldering site as a separate foreclosure lawsuit against Aryeh also plays out in court.
Developers were notified of agreement’s jeopardy in May
Aryeh’s failure to pay more than $450,000 worth of property taxes on the Mission Gateway site led to a notice of default issued on May 15.
That came with a 60-day window during which developers could have paid the delinquent taxes and kept the redevelopment agreement in good standing, according to the city.
City Administrator Laura Smith told the city council Monday that developers verbally confirmed with the county late last week that they did not intend to pay the taxes, prompting city staff to bring forward the resolution to end the deal.
Matt Valenti of Cameron Group, LLC, for which Aryeh is a subsidiary, did not respond to the Post’s emails or phone calls requesting comment for this story.
The developers also defaulted on a previous iteration of the agreement in 2021.
That led to the city and Aryeh coming to terms on the latest version of the plan, which the city council approved in January.
This most recent plan laid out a $270 million redevelopment project for the prominent and long-vacant site of the former Mission City Mall near Johnson Drive and Shawnee Mission Parkway, that includes residential, retail and office components.
Mayor and residents are fed up with developers
Resident Kim Donoway told the city council Monday that she is excited that the project reached this point, so “we can kick the Valenti brothers out.”
Tom Geraghty, former Ward 1 councilmember, told the council that residents have had enough of being humiliated by the “spineless” developers.
Councilmember Hillary Thomas, who was the lone vote against the redevelopment agreement in January, said she’s disappointed in the outcome and believes Mission deserves better after 18 years of failed plans for the prominent site.
Mayor Sollie Flora said the city’s “Herculean efforts” to help the developer succeed at Mission Gateway were not enough.
“Even if you do all that you can do to make something a success, at the end of the day you can’t completely control the actions — or in this case, inactions — of others,” Flora said. “It takes two for a successful public-private partnership, and the developer hasn’t kept up its end of the bargain.”
What does this mean for the site?
Smith told the Shawnee Mission Post following the meeting that any developer can come in and build out the final development plan, which calls for residential, office and retail space on the site.
Smith said a New York ‘s banks ongoing foreclosure lawsuit against Aryeh needs to play out first, which could take up to a year and a half. (The bank is suing the developer for defaulting on a $26 million development loan.)
A new redevelopment agreement would not come into play unless a future developer asks for public incentives to build a final development plan, she said.
As for the unfinished structures currently on the site — including a half-finished parking garage — Smith told the city council that the plan is to monitor them for decay and that the city could take action if they begin to degrade.
“The city has never owned (Mission Gateway), nor does this action put us in a position to be in control of what happens on that property or timing with which we see that property redeveloped,” Smith told the city council.
This story was originally published on the Shawnee Mission Post.