Client: City of Olathe (KS)

For the preparation of a master plan for the City of Olathe by RDG Planning and Design, GG+A conducted research and analysis including extensive interviews and field inspections to evaluate Downtown Olathe and based on the findings and conclusions, formulated strategic recommendations for tenanting and other enhancements of the Downtown.

GG+A identified and described the make-up of the Downtown building space inventory and economic activities and employment composition. GG+A identified and described the factors that encourage demand or can be considered locational strengths and the factors that discourage demand or constitute weaknesses. GG+A described the primary challenges facing the Downtown and identified the niches the Downtown can serve.

Strategic recommendations directed toward improving the vitality of the Downtown related to:

(a) recognizing that the Downtown primarily functions today as a center for government administration and justice, to retain and attract talent that the government entities work together to encourage a fitness center, wellness center and day-care center to locate in the Downtown;

(b) To test the demand for housing from government workers, conduct a survey designed to obtain information on demographic characteristics, current housing patterns, housing preferences, and willingness to live in Downtown, and product and pricing preferences;

(c) Encouraging Olathe Public Schools Culinary Arts Program, Johnson County Community College and Kansas State University Olathe to place a culinary arts program in Downtown;

(d) increasing the core area’s selection of dining and entertainment options (which will require subsidies);

(e) developing a farmer’s market that would appeal to employees, households, and visitors seeking fun and unique experiences, in addition to filling the void created by an absence of a grocery store;

(f) reducing the negative impacts of parking lots and parking structures not integrated into the urban fabric; and

(g) attracting local entrepreneurs to the Downtown.

GG+A prepared a report summarizing the assessment including findings, conclusions, and recommendations and gave a presentation to the team overseeing the development of the master plan. GG+A will also evaluate the feasibility of prototypical development alternatives postulated for the Downtown.