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Merrill Companies’ Prairiefire adding 300,000 SF to museum-anchored center.

OVERLAND PARK, KS – December 28, 2016 – Colliers International has been tapped to exclusively market for lease the recently announced 300,000-square-foot second phase of Prairiefire in Overland Park, Kansas, one of the Midwest’s most-visited destination retail centers that has imaginatively incorporated a museum featuring exhibits from the American Museum of Natural History among its shopping, dining, and entertainment attractions. 

Merrill Companies, the center’s Overland Park-based owner/developer, said it will break ground on the $60 million second phase next spring with a completion date slated for Summer 2018 In addition to the retail space, the new phase will include 70,000 square-foot office building and a 115 -room boutique hotel.

“Prairiefire has become the shopping and entertainment hub of greater Kansas City, offering a discerning mix of lifestyle tenants and interactive attractions,” said Colliers Senior Vice President Stephen Rusher who, along with Vice President Kimberly Tranbarger, are leading the brokerage firm’s leasing efforts. “With highly desirable demographics that rank it among the state’s most affluent metropolitan areas, we are aggressively targeting a strong mix of national-credit tenants, regional and local retailers and national-chain and local, homegrown restaurants for every type of consumer.  We are confident that upon final buildout, the new addition will be at or near full occupancy.”

Designated by both the state and the municipality of Overland Park as a major tourist destination when it opened its 250,000-square-foot first phase in 2014, Prairiefire’s broad array of shopping, dining, and entertainment venues have drawn national endorsements from a variety of travel, business and retail organizations. The second phase will cover some 15 acres with the entire project totaling 60 acres upon completion.

“But its Museum at Prairiefire, and that institution’s collaboration with one of the most renowned natural history museums in the world, has to rank as one of the most brilliant marketing concepts – whether or not that’s what it was originally intended to be – in the history of retail center development,” declared Tranbarger, who is based in Colliers’ Kansas City office. “We’ve discussed it among ourselves and nothing quite equates to it.” 

Its ongoing collaboration with the country’s most-respected natural history museum allows it to change exhibits on a regular basis, drawing a regular stream of visitors to the new exhibits and to the center, San Francisco-based Rusher noted. Additionally, the museum’s striking contemporary design has been critically acclaimed and was inspired by the prairie-fire burns that cover Kansas fields during parts of the year.

It also is one of a select group of buildings in the U.S. to have incorporated dichroic glass into its exterior design. A version of this ancient but now refined glass was used by NASA in the manufacture and design of helmets worn by astronauts for the protection from the sun when in near-earth orbit on the now-ended Space Shuttle Program.  

Observers will note what appears to be stained glass on the striking exterior of the museum, but it is dichroic glass that changes colors at different times of the day, from fiery reds, yellows, and oranges in the daylight to a sea of blue hues by night. 

Also luring visitors to Prairiefire are high-profile annual events such as the Tour de BBQ, Big Slick Celebrity Weekend at Pinstripes, and Kansas City Fashion Week.

Prairiefire, located on 135th Street in Overland Park, is at the epicenter of what is among the most affluent suburban regions not only in Kansas, but in all of the Midwest. It is also home to a growing number of companies in the burgeoning industries of technology, engineering and pharmaceuticals.  

Deemed the entertainment district of Overland Park, Prairiefire is surrounded by four major hospitals, two museums, a performing arts center, and Johnson County Community College. In recent years, Overland Park has been named one of the “Top 10 Best Places to Live” by Money Magazine, Livability and Forbes. Overland Park also has been ranked 67th on the list of the Top 100 Wealth Centers in the U.S. by and


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