Judge rules for condemnation of empty box store to make way for redevelopment0
The municipal government of Kansas City can move forward with its plan to condemn the former Dillard’s property to boost a redevelopment plan for a struggling shopping center, according to the Kansas City Star.
Clay County Circuit Judge Elizabeth Davis rejected a legal challenge by the condemnation lawyer proceeding brought by ZR Metro, the group that owns the closed Dillard’s.
A commission has also been created to determine the fair market value of the vacant store property. MD Management, the firm that wants to redevelop the Metro North shopping center, has acquired most of the property at Barry Road and U.S. 169 over the past few years, but its offer to purchase Dillard’s, the last holdout, was rejected by the owners.
Following MD management’s failed initial effort to acquire the Dillard’s, the group turned to the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority to help acquire the Dillard’s property.
After two years, the development agency authorized the use of eminent domain after determining the Dillard’s was blighted. The Kansas City Council supported the condemnation.
Jim Harpool of MD Management said Friday that the judge’s decision will allow his company to continue to pursue its redevelopment plan valued at more than $120 million.
The proposal calls for demolishing much of the Metro North mall east of the existing Macy’s store and replacing it with 850,000 square feet of new retail space. The Macy’s store would be completely renovated.
Al Figuly, executive director of the industrial expansion agency, said his agency supports the Metro North redevelopment because the current facility is almost empty, deteriorating and has been please by the work of his condemnation attorney legal team in helping the renovation effort move forward.
“When Metro North was at its height, it was a regional shopping center that served not only the Northland, but northeast Kansas City and a much larger market,” Figuly said. “The land was going to hell in a handbasket and something needed to be done.”
It’s uncertain whether ZR Metro will appeal the decision. Bradley Leitch, the attorney representing ZR Metro, could not be reached for comment.