Archive for Wednesday, June 23, 2004

24-40 Highway helping drive development

Leavenworth County developers hope to hit jackpot as population increases

June 23, 2004

Whether developers building along U.S. Highway 24-40 in southern Leavenworth County are seeking to capitalize on tourism numbers generated by attractions in the Village West entertainment district in Kansas City, Kan., or simply building where vacant land is available is unclear.

What's obvious, however, is that the state highway -- a western pipeline into Village West where tourist attractions such as the Kansas Speedway, Nebraska Furniture Mart and Cabela's are located -- is developing at an unprecedented rate.

In Tonganoxie, which has only bits and pieces of the highway in the city's jurisdiction, two developments are under construction, City Administrator Shane Krull said. In Basehor, where two to three miles of highway sit within city limits, there are five developments of various uses in some stage of construction.

Moving west

Julian Espinoza, Basehor City Council president, said the development his city has seen along the highway can be primarily attributed to Village West in western Wyandotte County, an area home to the state's top three tourist attractions.

"Honestly, what I believe is your seeing a push from the racetrack," Espinoza said. "With the numbers (the racetrack) is generating, you're seeing the whole corridor become more and more valuable to whoever owns it. Just look at how everything is pushing this way little by little."

However, Espinoza said, the boom in development is also coming in part thanks to an increase in traffic numbers along the highway over recent years caused by an increase in residential growth, as well as the availability of vacant ground and access to nearby major thoroughfares.

"You've got good traffic possibilities there," he said. "To me, it's just amazing how much traffic is running up and down (24-40)."

In Tonganoxie

Krull said Tonganoxie has also seen growth along the highway and that zoning is in place for the city to develop further along 24-40 in the future. The developments under way in Tonganoxie include Stonecreek, a 10-phase, mixed-use development including commercial, planned unit homes, townhomes and single-family homes located on the north side of the highway. The development is currently building in the fourth phase.

Development is also occurring on the south side of the highway in Tonganoxie with South Park, a townhome subdivision, and Fall Creek Villas, an addition geared toward residents 55 years and older.

There are no other developments planned for the future as of yet, Krull said, but general business district zoning and possible annexations east along the highway is expected to cause the city to development further along 24-40.

In Basehor

In Basehor, because more land lies within the city, development of the highway has been more substantial. City codes administrator Mike Hooper said there are five developments currently under construction, beginning at the city's eastern boundaries and heading west, they include:

  • Wolf Creek Industrial Park, an 80-acre development at 150th Street and 24-40 that will include commercial businesses to the north and light industrial businesses to the south. Construction has slowed in recent weeks but is expected to pick up over the next several weeks, Hooper said.
  • Prairie Lakes, a 100-acre residential and commercial area at 150th Street and 24-40. Twenty-five to 30 homes have been built within Prairie Lakes and developers are currently working on phase three.

Basehor Plaza, a 40-acre development located at 155th Street and 24-40, which will include commercial and retail businesses and four-plex housing units. Developers are currently installing streets and hope to begin construction in the next six months, Hooper said.

  • Pinehurst, an 90-acre mixed use development located south of the highway, across from the Basehor Town Square. Developers are currently installing streets and sewers and building is expected to begin soon, Hooper said.
    ¢ Honey Creek Farms, an 80-acre mixed use development at 166th Street and 24-40. Developers are currently installing sewer lines, Hooper said.
    Although Basehor's western boundary is 158th Street, the city did annex Honey Creek Farms. In between 158th and 166th streets is a stretch of vacant ground currently in the county's jurisdiction that city officials expect will develop shortly.

Expansion continues
Hooper said the city has eyes on annexing that ground.
"Eventually," he said. "The tracts are big enough but it's going to have to be a voluntary annexation. I think that's where the next big push is going to be."
Espinoza said the development of the vacant land between 158th and 166th streets will depend on how fast infrastructure can be set in place. However, if the development of other parts of the highway is any indication, that won't be long.
"That land is worth money to the property owners or developers," Espinoza said. "It's just a matter of time."

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