Why we're doing it.
In 2014, we were looking for office space to spin-off a startup from my company Freightquote. That company, Freightview, was mainly comprised of software developers. We sought an environment that was authentic, with the quirky nature of the Crossroads, but we didn’t want to ask our staff to commute far from Johnson County.
So, we started looking for a unique area on the south end of the metro. We looked for places with a sense of community and walkability: downtown Lee’s Summit, downtown Grandview, and Martin City. We ultimately chose downtown Overland Park (DTOP).
We moved our team into the old hardware store on Santa Fe. Employees walked to Clock Tower Bakery & Cafe for coffee and cinnamon rolls and had team lunches at The Peanut and The Other Place. We brought in pizza from Papa Keno’s and pies from The Upper Crust. We interviewed job candidates on the plaza by the clock tower, and we walked to Santa Fe Commons Park to decompress. We watched people walk by our windows, and we brought our own families back on warm nights and Farmer’s Market weekends.
We all found the Santa Fe area of old downtown Overland Park to be very charming. However, what we realized is that much of the life and charm of DTOP drops off quickly the further off Santa Fe that you go: overgrown vacant lots, buildings in various states of disrepair, and shops struggling to make rents that were less than half the average rate in Johnson County.
We are excited to see the multistory residential and retail spaces springing up around the historic core, and we’re looking forward to the new families and individuals that will be joining us as they take advantage of the various new and existing amenities.
We are building a five-story office space and new food hall on the corner of 80th and Marty. Our plan is to bring even more authenticity to DTOP. Yes, these structures will be new, but our goal is to complement the existing architecture and provide a sense of cohesion and charm. Our food hall will bring local, chef-owned dining experiences to round out the restaurant options in the area. We plan to build quality office space for hundreds of people including flexible, small office spaces to attract entrepreneurs and their startups–all of whom we believe will also fall in love with downtown Overland Park. These workers, combined with the new residents of The Vue and Avenue 80, will provide an increase in foot traffic for DTOP businesses.
Our plans involve significant open areas, green space, and quality new construction combined with a conscientious view of preserving the truly historic (including the recently rehabbed Overland Park Bank Building from 1909; and the Presbyterian Church Building from 1928). While we understand there are those who would prefer DTOP remain the way it has been for over 30 years, we have confidence in the six new multi-story developments already under construction, as well as in our planned project. The next generation of DTOP will be vibrant and will attract–as well as retain–the young professionals and empty nesters who move away from Greater Overland Park in search of an energetic, authentic, walkable community.
Ultimately, it’s the mix of restored historic buildings, new buildings, restaurants, and activities that will create dense new urbanism with walkable, thriving streets. Downtown Overland Park is squarely on a path to be a true epicenter for Johnson County, Kansas. We are excited to be contributing to this exciting transformation.
Freightquote and Edison Factory