Cultivating a New Community

BluHawk development brings change and opportunities to Johnson County

Welcome+home.+The+entrance+sign+to+the+BluHawk+neighborhood+lies+just+east+of+BV+West.++The++new+neighborhood+is+part+of+the+larger+BluHawk+development+and+has+already+become+home+to+several+families+with+students+in+the+Blue+Valley+district.
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Cultivating a New Community

Welcome home. The entrance sign to the BluHawk neighborhood lies just east of BV West.  The  new neighborhood is part of the larger BluHawk development and has already become home to several families with students in the Blue Valley district.

Welcome home. The entrance sign to the BluHawk neighborhood lies just east of BV West. The new neighborhood is part of the larger BluHawk development and has already become home to several families with students in the Blue Valley district.

Welcome home. The entrance sign to the BluHawk neighborhood lies just east of BV West. The new neighborhood is part of the larger BluHawk development and has already become home to several families with students in the Blue Valley district.

Welcome home. The entrance sign to the BluHawk neighborhood lies just east of BV West. The new neighborhood is part of the larger BluHawk development and has already become home to several families with students in the Blue Valley district.

Hannah Holladay, Web Editor

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Three short years ago, the intersection of 159th St. and Antioch Road had little significance. A stretch of grassy land was all that marked the area across the street from BV West. Now, the view is much different. Shopping, dining and other facilities are scattered throughout the landscape. Change is in the air, and it is only the beginning.

The Price Brothers Development Team is in the process of creating a 300 acre master-planned mixed-use development, known as BluHawk. Their goal is to establish a space where Johnson County residents can gather, socialize and make use of unique services. Students are beginning to see the plan take shape in the form of the BluHawk Marketplace.

“Several retailers are already open in the BluHawk Marketplace including Cosentino’s, Three Dog Bakery and BluHawk Dental,” said Tracy Mandel-McHugh, Vice President of Administration/Marketing and Acquisitions and Development. “Primrose School of Blue Valley broke ground in May and several other retailers, that will be great additions to the neighborhood, are on track to be open yet this year.”

The goal is to build BluHawk in three phases. The Marketplace development is already underway, with plans for the Shoppes and Galleria to follow. These phases will consist of various shops, restaurants and other tenants.

 Cosentino’s Market, an anchor tenant in the Marketplace, opened to the public on July 11 and is already a popular spot for residents. Not only is it a place students can shop, but a workplace for some as well. Its location near BV West makes it convenient for student employees to get from school to work.

“A lot of times [Cosentino’s would] have me working at four, so I could stay for a [school] meeting and then go home, change and come right back,” senior and former employee George Leondedis said. “I did this before where I’d bring my uniform and change at school. It was great because I could get there on time.”

Undoubtedly, practicality is one of the biggest advantages of the BluHawk development for BV West students. This easy accessibility is no accident. Overland Park, Kan. has the largest population of all Johnson County cities and was named to Niche’s 2017 lists of safest cities and best cities to live in America. Awards like these, along with many local opportunities, made the city stand out to the Price Brothers. 

“We’re very excited to be bringing this multi-faceted, community-enhancing destination to Overland Park,” Mandel-McHugh said. “From being intimately involved in seeing the 159th and 69 highway interchange through to fruition, to creating strong partnerships with local groups such as Shawnee Mission Health Blue Valley and the Overland Park Fire Department, we’re developing deep connections with the neighborhood.”

Strategically located, mixed-use developments like BluHawk are becoming more commonplace in the Johnson County area and nationwide. According to the National Association of Realtors, millennials made up 66% percent of first-time homebuyers in 2017, and one of the primary characteristics these buyers sought was walkability. Developers take these preferences into account when building communities designed to suit the needs of potential buyers.

 Sophomore Rachel Darling moved into the BluHawk neighborhood last year and lives near the project’s construction. The convenient location played a big role in her family’s decision to move there. Darling regularly bikes to school and has experienced both benefits and setbacks from living in the area.

“[BluHawk] is a newer development so it has a lot of new families that are starting up,” Darling said. “It’s great for me because I babysit and I’ve made a lot of money from it. The construction [in the area] is frustrating though.”

While some benefit from the amenities and growth, others find fault with the creation of such large projects in their area. BluHawk has sparked some resistance among residents, including  traffic and amenity concerns that the development team is working to address.

Issues with travel and busyness will likely only increase as more people are drawn to the BluHawk area, but new opportunities to add to the community will arise as well. Supporters and opponents alike can agree that BluHawk will cause significant change. The project will not be finished in the immediate future, but its effects within the community are already seen and progress is being made each day. While BluHawk represents a small addition to a rapidly developing world, for Johnson County, its impact is anything but.

Fine foods available now. The entrance to Cosentino’s Market stands as a central feature of the BluHawk Marketplace. The store opened in July and serves as a convenient grocery stop for many residents.

What it Means for BV West

With BV West located closest to BluHawk out of all schools in the district, it is certain that as the area continues to grow, it will open up new opportunities for students. The project is still in its early phases of development, but as time goes on and amenities are built, more students will likely be drawn to the area. 

“I think it will be the new hangout spot,” Leondedis said. “I see a lot of West kids and even teachers that go to Cosentino’s. I think once they actually start opening things that kids are going to want to go to, then people from West are going to be there all the time.”

In addition to becoming a place to visit with friends outside of school, the creation of the Cosmosphere Innovation Space will allow for new educational experiences. BluHawk is working with Cosmosphere International SciEd Center and Space Museum in Hutchison, Kan. to make this particular development a reality. Once built, the goal is to provide opportunities for students in the district to visit and learn from the educational resources found there.

“Our vision for a regional destination focused on education and entertainment fits in perfectly with the growing neighborhood and surrounding areas,” Mandel-McHugh said. “We’re looking forward to facilitating further connection between the Cosmosphere Innovation Space and Blue Valley School District.”

courtesy of www.bluhawkkc.com
New opportunities to learn underway. The concept for the proposed Cosmosphere Innovation Space is in the works. BluHawk partnered with the existing Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kan. to help make the new idea a reality.

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