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JOHNSON COUNTY, KS-A local developer/banker has his sights on the 135th Street corridor in southern Johnson County. The east/west thoroughfare is the latest hot spot to be sought in this affluent suburban county. First it was College Boulevard, then 119th Street and now, from the farmlands turned bedroom communities, it is 135th Street garnering the attention.

Developer and banker Jack Waters wants to build as much as 300,000 sf of stores along 135th Street, east of Pflumm Road in eastern Overland Park, near the Olathe city limits. Plans are similar to those used for the WestGlen Shopping Center in Shawnee, which he helped open five years ago. The Overland Park site is 105 acres with space for office buildings as well, up to 500,000 sf. An anchor tenant and real estate leasing company are being sought, with no dates set for initial construction.

Development has already been strong along 135th Street, from State Line to Roe Avenue to Quivira Road and over to Blackbob Road in Olathe. Block & Co. is developing property next to Water’s land. The Prairie Center is expected to be completed in two years with more than 220,000 sf of retail and office space. Current tenants include Commerce Bank, Osco and Goodyear.

The area is attractive for its location, as well as its demographics. A recent study by the County Economic Research Institute showed that approximately 80,000 people live within a three-mile radius of 135th Street and Pflumm Road. Their annual disposable household income is $80,120, which is 50% more than the national and metropolitan averages.

Waters has plans for other spots in Johnson County as well. He is seeking to build a 90-room hotel near WestGlen, on the west side of Interstate 435 and Midland Drive. The site is also being groomed for two restaurants and two 10,000-sf office buildings. This summer, he will open two office/warehouse buildings containing 28,000 sf in the Millwood Business Park at Johnson Drive and Woodland Ave. About 60 acres remain in the park. Waters also has his eye on 28 acres in Lenexa at the northwest corner of Interstate 435 and 87th Street. The site is suited for retail and office use and will be developed by demand.

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