by Ivan Foley
The Menards store, long anticipated by many home improvement shoppers in this area, will be opening Tuesday, Jan. 31 in Platte County.
The store, located at Hwy. 152 and Green Hills Road, Kansas City in Platte County, is expected to open “at the end of this month,” was the message given Jan. 19 by Alicia Stephens, executive director of the Platte County Economic Development Council, during a presentation to a meeting of the Platte City Chamber of Commerce.
Later, a store official contacted by The Landmark on Tuesday at the company’s headquarters in Wisconsin said Menards will be opening Tuesday, Jan. 31. The official referred to the location as the company’s Kansas City, North store.
On Jan. 19, there were dozens of cars in the store’s parking lot, as preparations for the opening are well underway. “Now hiring” signs were visible on and near the property.
Stephens said company officials have indicated the store’s opening will be a “private event,” adding that the store does not intend to do a public ribbon cutting.
Menards has been prepping four stores in the Kansas City metro at the same time, Stephens said.
Menards offers a wide variety of products, including building materials, tools, hardware, garden supplies, electrical supplies, ceiling fans, light fixtures, cabinets, home appliances, doors, windows, paint, wood stain, wallpaper, plumbing supplies, carpet, vinyl, linoleum, groceries, and automotive supplies.
It has a store in St. Joseph, which is where some Platte Countians have been driving to partake in the offerings of a Menards.
Menards is privately held company, headquartered in Eau Claire, Wis, has approximately 300 stores in 14 states: Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, and Kentucky. It is reported to be the third largest home improvement chain in the United States, behind The Home Depot and Lowe's.
Stephens touched on other new and existing economic development activity in the Northland in her presentation to a large luncheon crowd at the Northland Career Center. Angie Mutti, director of the Platte City Chamber of Commerce, said the 96 registered attendees was the largest crowd for a chamber lunch in her nearly four years with the organization.
Stephens said the Costco store, which is going in at Hwy. 152 and Platte Purchase Drive, is planning to open this coming summer, possibly as early as June. Platte Purchase Drive is the county line between Platte and Clay counties. The Costco store is actually located just across the county line into Clay County, so Platte County will not directly get the sales tax revenue generated by sales at the store.
Much like Sam’s Club, Costco is a membership-only warehouse club that provides a wide selection of merchandise. It is said to be the largest membership-only warehouse club in the United States, and as of 2015, the second largest retailer in the world after Walmart.
Meanwhile, Stephens said Sam’s Club still owns property just north of the Tiffany Springs MarketCenter. Sam’s Club officials recently renewed a special use permit for the property to allow a fuel station at the site, but other than that there is “nothing to new to report” about if/when Sam’s Club will build at the site.
Sources had told The Landmark early in 2016 that Sam’s Club had made an internal announcement that no new stores would go up in 2016. It is unknown at this point if that edict has carried over into 2017.
ALDI grocer last month opened at the Tiffany Springs MarketCenter and appears to be doing well. Stephens said she was a bit surprised at the level of excitement and customer following that an ALDI store had created in Platte County.
Stephens said there is a plan in place to construct a new bridge over I-29 to replace the present bridge that leads to the Tiffany Springs MarketCenter from the west. The new bridge would be more of a straight shot to the center, she said. There will not be an interstate interchange at the new bridge, as it will continue to be fed by the outer roads.
On Barry Road, there is development activity just south of the AMC Barrywoods Theatres. Going in at that location are a Main Event Entertainment and a Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers.
Main Event Entertainment, according to its web site, features state-of-the-art bowling, multi-level laser tag, and 100 games, along with handcrafted food and a full bar under one roof.
Freddy’s is a fast food concept featuring items from steakburgers to sundaes. “Freddy’s makes food fresh after you ask for it because that’s the kind of quality you deserve,” states the company’s web site.
The EDC director again mentioned the potential of the Twin Creeks development area. Twin Creeks KC is an area of about 15,000 acres. The development area is bounded by I-29 on the west, I-435 on the north, Hwy. 169 on the east and Hwy. 152 on the south. The area can be described as directly east of Kansas City International Airport.
Stephens said of the 15,000 acres, about 10,000 are developable. The majority of the development will be residential. She said a majority of the area lies within the Platte County R-3 School District.
Stephens said the growth in Twin Creeks will not be in five or 10 years, but over the next 20-30 years “it will change the landscape.” She repeated a much talked about estimate that says 75,000 people are expected to live in the Twin Creeks area in the next 20-30 years.
Stephens mentioned the recently-announced location of a CVS distribution center in central Platte County, about a mile south of the Harley Davidson plant at N. Congress Ave. and NW 108th Street. As previously reported by The Landmark, that center is expected to begin operations in 2018 and the expansion is expected to create more than 360 new jobs in the area.
She also briefly touched on the topic of a new and/or improved KCI Airport, saying that the EDC’s board of directors “wants a better KCI.”
A previous effort to build a new KCI has been “paused” by Mayor Sly James. Stephens said the EDC believes the conversation needs to change to “find out what voters have an appetite for” in regard to the airport. She said Kansas City voters are only about 15% of the users of the airport but are the ones who will decide its future based on an election outcome.
Stephens praised the economic growth and potential for more in the city of Riverside, where the Riverside Horizons Industrial Park has been a huge hit.
“Riverside put a windfall from casino revenues into infrastructure and this is what you get,” she praised. “Private investment follows public investment.”
Potential for economic growth is present in both the cities of Platte City and Parkville, Stephens said.
She mentioned the 300 acres Platte City has available east of I-29, south of HH Hwy. and north of Hwy. 92. The city has made a public investment in sewer service for the area. At Parkville, there are properties available inside a Neighborhood Improvement District at I-435 and Hwy. 45. The debt payments on the NID have become a financial and political issue for the city.