Published 12/27/2012 in Local NewsEditor's note: This is the seventh in a series of stories featuring The Telegram's top 10 news stories of 2012.
BY SCOTT AUST
Becky Malewitz/Telegram Construction crews work on the new Menards building in Garden City earlier this year. The home improvement retailer will anchor a new retail development in town.
This courtesy map shows an aerial view of the new retail development that will be anchored by Menards.
On April 6, city officials announced that home improvement retailer Menards would be the anchor store in the first phase of a two-phase, $67.2 million retail shopping development to be built on Garden City's east side.
The retail development, being built by North Carolina-based real estate company Collett & Associates, will include 400,000 square-feet of retail space on more than 60 acres of land north of Schulman Avenue and south of Sam's Club, east of the U.S. Highway 50/83 bypass.
The Menards store itself covers about 162,000 square feet on about 28 acres.
The development is No. 4 on The Telegram's list of top 10 news stories of 2012.
Construction began in June on Menards, and work is well under way on infrastructure improvements such as utilities and roads. Developers expect Menards to open sometime in the spring of 2013.
The first phase of the project includes development and construction of the Menards store and four smaller lots for as yet unnamed retail stores, along with parking, utilities, highway, street and infrastructure improvements.
The second phase of the project will include development of the remaining property, with additional retail lots.
As part of the plan, Lareu Street is being extended south toward Schulman Avenue. Turning lanes and signals are planned for the highway bypass and Schulman Avenue intersection, and Schulman Avenue is being widened next to the site.
To make way for the development, the city waived some parking and signage zoning regulations, rezoned the property from agriculture to general commercial, and created a tax increment financing district to help finance the project.
City officials said earlier this year the TIF district would be used to finance roughly $18 million in public infrastructure for the project, including $5.3 million for the first phase.
In an April story, representatives from Collett & Associates indicated Garden City was identified as a good market for development because of its regional retail pull. In addition to the roughly 30,000 population in Garden City, the developers were hopeful they could pull between 175,000 to 200,000 customers from southwest Kansas and surrounding states.
City officials, who had been working on landing the development through part of 2011, were ecstatic when details about the Menards development were finally released.
"It's a great day to be a Garden Citian," former Mayor John Doll said in April. "I'm excited for the staff, for the highs and lows we've gone through. To see it come to this point is very exciting."
City Manager Matt Allen said in April that Menards being the first to open, and much sooner than expected, held some advantages.
"They are projected to be much larger than all the prospective storefronts or out-lots and be the largest sales tax generator, both of which will help pay off the bonds that will be issued to develop this district," he said.
The Garden City Menards is the fifth store the company has built in Kansas. Currently, there are two stores in Wichita and one each in Manhattan and Salina.
A family-owned company started in 1960, Menards currently operates more than 260 home improvement stores with locations in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
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