Rob Roberts / Kansas City Business Journal – The Great Mall of the Great Plains in Olathe will close sometime this fall, according to VanTrust Real Estate LLC, the asset manager for the property.
VanTrust is now working with the Olathe Chamber of Commerce and Olathe Economic Development Council to determine the best reuse of the property.
Opened in 1997, the 1 million-square-foot indoor mall is located on 110 acres at the intersection of 151st Street, Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 169.
“The decision to close was difficult, but one that was guided by very compelling economic realities,” VanTrust said via a written statement on Monday. “The development began to face struggles soon after it opened and has been unable to recover in the intervening years due to a variety of factors, including the economic downturn and changes in customers’ shopping habits.”
Results from recent retail studies conducted by Jeff Green Partners indicate that the site can now support only a fraction of the mall’s existing retail square footage. Thus, “the structure, maintenance costs and layout do not support preservation of the current building,” the release stated.
Tim McKee, CEO of the Olathe Chamber of Commerce, said his organization will help businesses that remain in the mall relocate to alternate sites that meet their needs.
“We appreciate VanTrust’s willingness to work with us and Olathe-area businesses toward a positive outcome.” McKee said in a release. “The South Olathe region is rapidly changing, a fact that is evident with Olathe Medical Center’s recent announcement of a $100 million expansion.”
The mall’s owner, Great Olathe Center LLC, is working with the remaining tenants on arrangements to vacate based on their existing lease agreements. All tenants will receive packets of information from the Olathe EDC within coming days to assist with the transition.
“We recognize this will be a difficult time of transition for our retailers, and are committed to working with them to facilitate a smooth process,” Jeff Smith, a vice president of asset management for VanTrust, said in a release. “We feel privileged to have worked with a variety of businesses at the Great Mall and greatly value the opportunity to have done so.”
The Great Mall of the Great Plains was built at a cost of about $110 million and was sold for $20.5 million in January 2009 to Great Olathe Center LLC by Glimcher Realty Trust of Columbus, Ohio.