Olsson Associates


Market in the black, mixed-use development is back

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Angie Przybylo, Marketing

In 2006, the Kansas City metropolitan area witnessed several developments that were in the planning or design stage come to a screeching halt due to the nation’s economic crash. Investments were lost, land and retail buyers were bankrupt, and designs ceased. Site developments that once had promise to drive the economy sat vacant and desolate, waiting for recovery.

Olsson Associates’ Land Development team was retained to plan and design some of these developments in the early 2000s. Many lost financial traction. However, throughout the economy’s recovery, Olsson stuck by its clients. Staff members responded to many requests and helped clients lobby for funding and investments, where possible.

Today, in our improved economic times, these sites are now the catalyst for financial vitality. Federal and state funding mechanisms are now geared toward sectors that drive development, and Olsson has had a hand in many of these improvements. The reason for the shift in attitude came from a combination of market demand from workers and residents, the public embracing the convenience of walkable communities, and growing government awareness about the economic and environmental benefits of transit-oriented development. Government policy at all levels, including changes in mortgage programs and transit funding, are now favoring mixed-use development.

Olsson’s dedication to its clients eventually resulted in built environments that benefit communities where residents live and work. Mixed-use developments make communities healthier, safer, and more prosperous by providing the following amenities:

  • Greater housing variety and density
  • Reduced distances between housing, workplaces, retail businesses, and other destinations
  • More compact development
  • Stronger neighborhood character and sense of place
  • Better access to fresh, healthy foods (as food retail and farmers markets can be accessed on foot/bike or by transit)
  • Walkable, bike-able neighborhoods with increased accessibility via transit, resulting in both reduced transportation costs and reduced emissions

Below are a few examples of Olsson projects that began as a vision and became a reality with the market resurgence.

Prairiefire – Overland Park, Kansas

Olsson began designing this 58-acre site in 2005. Plans for this site developed slowly, but, in 2010, plans picked up speed again. Recently, Olsson designed additional shops, apartments, and a museum. Amenities of the Prairiefire project include the following:

  • Retail, office, residential, hotel, and museum
  • Open space features, with pedestrian connections
  • Garden park, play area, water features

Corbin Park – Overland Park, Kansas

Corbin ParkOlsson became involved with Corbin Park in 2004. By 2006, designs and plans for restaurants and retail facilities were awaiting buyers. Since 2011, the site has added restaurants, a bank, a parking garage, and additional retail facilities. The project includes the following:

  • 1.1 million square feet of space
  • Office and entertainment options


Mission Mall – Mission, Kansas

In 2006, Mission Center Mall was closed and demolished and the property vacated. After the economic turnaround, interest in the site was renewed, and the project developer has indicated that ground-breaking for the initial land work is scheduled to begin in 2013. The plan for the area includes the following:

  • Three multi-tenant retail buildings
  • Three mixed-use buildings of retail and residential space
  • A four-floor parking structure
  • Public/private open space and pedestrian amenities

Briarcliff Development – Kansas City, Missouri.

Shops at BriarcliffAfter adding The Briarcliff Hilltop Office Building in 2006, most plans for the site slowed tremendously due to the market downturn. However, since 2010, the development has added a hotel, restaurants, apartments, trails, and additional office and retail space, totaling 1.1 million square feet.

Olsson specializes in complex, multidisciplinary development projects. For more than 30 years, we have provided multidisciplinary design services for countless mixed-use and other site development types. We have been on the forefront of designing developments with a combination of residential, commercial, cultural, and institutional uses that are physically and functionally integrated and that provide pedestrian connections. We look toward designs that benefit our communities.

Below are additional services we provide for land development:

  • Technical Services
  • Surveying
  • Geotechnical Investigations
  • Traffic Studies and Analysis
  • Transit Analysis
  • Environmental (Phase I/II ESAs, Wetlands, Permitting)
  • Master/Site Planning
  • Sustainable Design (LEED®)
  • Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plans
  • Stormwater Management
  • Infrastructure Design
  • Roadway/Bridge Design
  • Landscape Architecture/Hardscape Design
  • Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing
  • Structural Design
  • Construction Management
  • Special Inspections
  • Sketch Up/3-D Modeling
  • Entrance Feature Design

Development Services:

  • Site Selection
  • Due Diligence
  • Entitlements
  • Pro Formas
  • Branding/Advertising
  • Project Website Design

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