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BONNER SPRINGS, KS-Big plans are in the works for the land surrounding the Kansas Speedway. The 400-acre parcel has been deemed an entertainment district and should accommodate more than 4.5 million sf of development.

Bill Crandall, vice president with the Zimmer Cos., which was chosen as the master developer this past summer, is currently working on attracting a major sporting goods chain to be one of the first tenants. Included in the discussions are Bass Pro Shops, based in Springfield, MO; Cabela’s Inc., based in Sidney, NE; and Dick’s Sporting Goods, based in Pittsburgh. Neither Bass Pro Shops nor Cabela’s have a location yet in the metropolitan market. Dick’s Sporting Goods recently opened five-area locations.

“We are openly discussing the possibilities of development and showing the incentives and demographics of the area to a number of possible tenants,” says Doug Bach, project manager for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS. “But we have yet to take a proposal to the commission.”

The 75,000-seat Kansas Speedway is set to open for racing in summer 2001. There will be four race weekends next year and track officials hope to host other non-race events that will keep the facility busy two out of three days.

On the 400-acre tract, which is just east and north of the track, developers plan to infill with destination shopping stores, restaurants and at least one full-service hotel. Completing the development process is expected to take from five to seven years.

One of the attractions is the location of the track. It is located less than a half-hour from Downtown Kansas City and has high visibility from interstates 435 and 70. Another impetus to build in the area is the tax incentives avaiable. “The state initially identified this area to be approved to receive Star Bond money,’” Bach says. “It is like TIF money in that is can be used to build back in. We will also be able to use the entire tax allocation from the state, county and the city.”

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