New strategy eyed for former Cabela's Greenwood site

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There are new plans in the works for a big chunk of unused land in Greenwood.

After the city was snubbed by Cabela's four years ago, that property off of Graham and County Line Roads, near I-65, has sat vacant. Now, a new strategy to divide the land may finally bring new stores to Johnson County.

Calls for development on the 109 acre Greenwood property have been met with silence for a long time. In fact, only the seasons have changed here - lots of them - ever since mega outdoor retailer Cabela's pulled the plug on building a store off I-65.

Cabela's promised a huge facility in 2007. A water park was planned on the property, too. They backed out in 2009.

The Candlewood Suites hotel is the only sign something big was supposed to happen here.

"It's been kind of puzzling to us as to why it hasn't developed because it's probably the prime interchange location in the metro area," said Greenwood Planning Director Ed Ferguson.

But now, the group of 20 investors who bought the land back from Cabela's in 2010 are hunting new development in a new way: divide up the property.

"It'll be multiple sites with multiple tenants," Ferguson explained.

Realtor Scott Langdon is asking the city plan commission to approve a new plat that would split the land up into six sections.

He says that's easier to attract development and he's specifically targeting higher-end retail and hotels.

"It's already has spurred interest," Langdon said. "Greenwood has asked us to concentrate on companies that would not compete with Greenwood Park Mall. They'd like to see destination oriented businesses here. "I get anonymous emails from Johnson County residents and travelers saying, 'Scott, I want an Ikea down here. How about a Costco?'"

Also being considered for this property: a sporting goods or home improvement store.

Langdon says he's been working the phones contacting retailers and hotels.

So far, Langdon says no retailer has committed, but because of work already done by Cabela's, the land, water and sewer are ready to go.

Langdon says getting that first big tenant is both the key and the challenge.

"The most common theme I hear from the developers and the end user is, 'Scott, I don't want to be the first one in. I don't want to be the pioneer.'"

The proposal to divide up the land will go before the Greenwood Plan Commission next week.

Langdon is confident that will entice the stores to come, something Greenwood's been waiting on now for years.