August 16, 2012
Things are looking different these days at the southeast corner of 135th and Metcalf. The new owner of the Corbin Park Shopping Center in south Overland Park, Kansas has made the city, local residents, and current retailers sit up and take notice – and they like what they see.
When Mike Schlup took over the Corbin Park site in November of 2011, the development consisted of three anchors, two parking structures, nearly 200,000 square feet of unfinished retail buildings – and a lot of dirt. By the first quarter of 2012, the site remained a construction zone with Von Maur, JC Penney, and Lifetime Fitness operating in spite of the rubble. The challenges faced by the new owner were evidenced by half-constructed buildings with quality issues, several unusable entrances around the anchor stores, outparcel buildings and available pad sites owned by the banks, and vacancy issues that weren’t being addressed.
With an aggressive drive to succeed, along with a determination to demonstrate the viability of the project to the city and provide the anchors with the conditions they needed, Mr. Schlup began an ambitious construction project to beautify the site and improve its accessibility. Indifferent to the air of uncertainty and some skepticism about the prospects of turning the stalled development around, he attacked this major project with skill, care, and vision. Mountains of dirt lined with orange construction tape turned into beautifully landscaped and finished lots with streets, pedestrian walkways, gardens, and percolating fountains. By mid-year, remaining construction areas were hidden from sight with attractive fencing, and retail buildings were complete with storefront glass and entry features ready for the leasing team to fill the spaces. “When I saw the opportunity to create a first class retail center,” Mr. Schlup said, “I was confident that I could put the construction pieces back together. This is a great location that sells itself. It just needed the right person to get it back on track.”
“We’re more than happy with the progress Mike has made,” said Bob Larson of Von Maur. “It’s made a huge difference already, and we’re excited about the tenant mix he is planning to deliver. We are very pleased with the increases in sales and traffic we’re seeing, and as a property owner in this center, we’re here to stay.”
The area residents and city officials are happy to see the physical transformation as well, and both are eager to see the first small shops opening this fall. Besides the recently announced deal with Sprouts Farmers Market, the Corbin Park leasing team has promised upcoming announcements of power center anchors, several restaurants, soft goods users that are finalizing deals, and another major announcement they plan to release in 30-60 days. “The leasing team at Copaken Brooks is happy to be working on such a prime piece of real estate in an area where the demographics and anchor tenants make the site very attractive,” said leasing agent Sheryl Vickers. “There’s a strong base to build on. Our leasing efforts have been very productive and we are excited to head into some major announcements in the coming months. It’s helpful to work with an owner who is intentional and creative and able to make this corner a success at last!”
“The 135th Street Corridor, with the presence of the Overland Park Soccer Complex and established retail and residential developments, will increasingly become a much sought-after destination with the improvements of Corbin Park,” said Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach, “The future of this vital corridor looks promising due to anticipated business developments at both Corbin Park and nearby PrairieFire.”
With new anchors soon to be announced, and the neighboring PraireFire development’s museum and entertainment components (likely to draw over 2 million visitors a year), it’s easy to imagine the excitement of new Corbin Park tenants, and visualize the shoppers gathering at this top quality retail destination. There will be hot tenants including organic grocery, outdoor apparel users like Backwoods and REI, the “polished casual” restaurants the area craves, and gathering places for residents to enjoy. Corbin Park truly has turned a corner. It’s showing us a lot of beautiful things – and the new look is just the beginning.