The New Downtown

Lenexa expanding to make a new downtown area

Colette Balas and Sami Jansen

It all started with a process of vision inspired by the citizens. The current construction of the apartments and the small shopping center is just the beginning of the new things soon to come to Lenexa.

In 1997, the Lenexa council planned a meeting with its citizens. They call it the Vision 20/20. They came up with a design to put a unique spin on urban living in Lenexa. The plans have recently taken off with the addition of many restaurants and small businesses around 87th Street, specifically, 87th and Renner.

The main vision of Vision 20/20 is a city center.

“City center will be one more place people can come for a community experience,” Mike Boehm, Mayor of Lenexa, said.

The city center will be made up of four quadrants: center, east, north and northeast. The center will be home to Perceptive Software’s World headquarters.

“I think that’s the most exciting thing for all of us,” Doug Robinson, Lenexa Administrative Services Director, said.

They are also moving City Hall, creating a place for outdoor concerts and markets, and potentially building a new library.

“ We’re really creating a new downtown. That’s not something you see every day,” Robinson said.

The council is currently in the design process for a recreational center similar to Matt Ross. It will include a gym, pools and a lazy river. They hope to have it completed by 2017.  Life guards from the Lenexa staff will have an opportunity to guard year round at this center.

A new hotel is also being built that will allow businesses to hold meetings and conferences .

“The Highup Place hotel is going to be made of lots of glass and will be five stories tall,”  Boehm said.

The concept of the new urban area in based off of designs in The Plaza. In the future, they want there to be no street parking and just have parking garages.

“But that is a long ways away,” Tim Green, City Engineer, said.

There have been some unexpected obstacles. The main obstacle was the recession in 2008. That brought the whole project to a stop because investors were hard to find and it was a bad time to start such a big project. However, if they would’ve started on the project before the recession, it would have been more difficult build.

“Things happen for a reason, I believe that.” Boehm said.

Lenexa wants to bring mixed development to the town with residential, commercial, and retail all together. The apartments are upscale and expensive.They want to cater to business people who travel a lot, but still need a place to live. The hotel will bring in a professional clientele. The recreational center and shopping center will provide a family atmosphere.

“The main goal here is to create a place where you can live, work and play. We want people to grow up and retire here,” Karen Gables, Lenexa planner, said.