CREATING THE CULTURE
Not short on promises, the developers of
Shoal Creek are committed to creating a community that offers something
to everyone. Imagine a place that offers the charming architecture
of Brookside, the unique retail environment of the plaza, the infrastructure
and amenities of Johnson County and the office settings found in Corporate
Woods, comments Mark Staples, vice president of Shoal Creek Valley
Development Company, LLC. That is what you will find in Shoal Creek
With an economic slowdown facing the country, some may think there are better times to embark on such an ambitious project. As Mark Staples sees it, however, the timing couldnt be better. Staples points to the fact that a project of this size will take years to build out. If you take any 20 year period in the last century, you will find natural periods of recession. The key to success in this business is to have your product available when people are ready to buy. Johnson County may be the poster community for Staples point. It is no small
coincidence that the explosive expansion in the southern part of Kansas City took place primarily at a time when the economy turned red hot after an extended period of sluggish growth. The type of community that we are putting together wont happen overnight, but when it is done I truly believe that it will be admired for generations to come, Staples adds.
To be sure, the initial plans for Shoal Creek Valley, particularly the commitment to preserving natural green ways and geographical features, seem to support the developers promises. Immediate plans call for the preservation of 480 acres, or about 30 percent of the property, to be maintained as parks or opens spaces. The open space will be divided among 10 distinct neighborhoods, all of which will be connected by miles of walking or biking trails. Additionally, each neighborhood will host a series of amenities including community centers, swimming pools and exercise areas.
According to Don Brandes, principle at Design Studios West of Denver and Shoal Creek project designer, The intent for Shoal Creek is to attract families for multiple generations. Its our hope and dream to attract families of different lifestyles and to provide the types of homes, shopping, employment and entertainment that appeal to this diverse group. Shoal Creeks managers have taken the time to research and determine what appeals to Midwesterners.
On October 11th the developers of the Shoal Creek Valley
community officially broke ground on what is billed to be
Kansas Citys largest combination residential/commercial
development since the J.C. Nichols Company developed the
Country Club Plaza area.
In fact, it was those research findings that may have had the most significant influence on Shoal Creek Valleys determination not to create another cookie-cutter development. We saw an opportunity to do something completely different, says Staples. We found in research that there was a growing demand for housing variety, the types of homes that you find in Brookside, Prairie Village or even Mission Hills. Consequently we surveyed the market and did not find a lot of developments that were pursuing this demand, so we recognized an opportunity to build and sell this type of product.
To capture the essence of the more traditional Kansas City architecture, the Shoal Creek team will partner with local architects to develop home plans that will present some of the areas most distinct architectural features. Designers have been asked to bring all facets to bear on their designs including materials, surroundings, topography and usage. This somewhat fundamental approach to design will help ensure that when my grandchildrens grandchildren visit Shoal Creek, they will find a place that naturally appeals to them, however many years later, says Staples. Staples team also intends to carry their traditional design themes over to community buildings, retail and office centers and even the new schools that will be built in the community.
Speaking of schools, although Shoal Creek Valley lies in the Northeast corner of the Kansas City, Mo., city limits, residents of the community will actually attend the highly regarded Liberty School District. Naturally, the thought of 20,000 to 30,000 new residents in your district, half of which may be school-aged children, would worry most school superintendents. Quite the contrary, according to Dr. Scott Taveau, superintendent of the Liberty School District, however, These people are concerned about schools and every aspect of their community. They have come to us to talk about after-school programs and day-care programs. We have met several times and are meeting again soon to start planning the location and programs for the new schools. They want a Landmark School. Weve talked about the amount of land we need and all the general concepts have been planned for. Now were getting everything concrete..
|The local retail-business
community is equally eager to see the Shoal Creek construction crews roll
in. The people of Shoal Creek Development are quality people. They
brought their entire board out to meet us at their groundbreaking,
declares Ed Bradley, president of Guaranty Bank & Trust, which is located
near the development. We came to the Northland because of what is
now going on around us. It has been a tremendous success and more now than
ever with Shoal Creek underway.
Although Bradleys bank likely will benefit from the increased retail activity in the Northland, not all current-area residents are thrilled to see an increase in automobile traffic. The primary entrance into Shoal Creek Valley lies on Highway 152, almost equidistant between I-35 and I-435. The 152 / I-35 intersection has long been a sore spot for Northlanders and particularly Liberty residents. Even with recent improvements, the roadways seem overwhelmed by the growing retail centers and related traffic.
Staples doesnt deny that Shoal Creek will have an impact on this situation; however, he points out that his team has worked hand-in-hand with the city to design a distribution system that is appropriate for the development. Changes include the four-lane Shoal Creek Parkway that will extend north and south through the development and will route traffic away from 152 / I-35. I believe that I-435 south to I-35 will become the route of choice for Shoal Creek residents as they travel to downtown Kansas City. It is almost exactly the same
distance as directly down I-35, but it is much quicker since there is little traffic, claims Staples.
Traffic concerns aside, it appears that Shoal Creek Valley has no shortage of fans with perhaps the most important support coming from Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes. In her words, The Shoal Creek Valley Development is a wonderful project that will mean great things for the surrounding areas in the years to come.The developers have spent a great deal of time working with our city planners to ensure this project fits into the citys strategic plan, and Im confident their efforts will pay off with a vibrant and exciting residential and retail district.
Concludes Mark Staples, Ideally we will find everything that is great about Kansas City and create it in one place.
Houses in the Preserve neighborhood at Shoal Creek Valley
will be a combination of golf course estates, villa homes and
carriage houses. The Preserve is surrounded by the
Shoal Creek Golf Course.
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