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lagom
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This is interesting news in times like these.
We'll see if this ever rises out of a surface parking lot.



Cordish plans $70M downtown apartment project
By KEVIN COLLISON
The Kansas City Star
Humphreys & Partners Architects

The Cordish Co. is planning a $70 million downtown residential blitz that includes building a 23-story tower and renovating the historic Midland office building, adding 318 apartments to a market starved for rental housing.

The new 250-unit tower proposed for the northwest corner of 13th and Walnut streets would be the first high-rise built downtown since the 17-story H&R Block headquarters opened in 2006. And at about 230 feet, it would be the tallest residential building ever built from scratch downtown.

“It’s glitzy and it’s going to show Kansas City off,” Mayor Sly James said Wednesday. “It’s a cool-looking building, a place where people will say ‘I want to live there. I want to go to a party there.’”

Half of the units in the high-rise would have balconies, and amenities would include direct access to the Jones, a swimming pool and club on the rooftop of the adjoining garage. The 12-story Midland office building on the northeast corner of 13th Street and Baltimore Avenue, vacant for more than a dozen years, would be renovated into 68 apartments.

If the development agreement, which includes an $8 million cash subsidy from the city and a 50 percent property tax break over 25 years, is approved by the Kansas City Council, the schedule calls for both projects to begin construction the first half of next year.

The Midland renovation would be completed by the end of 2013 and the high-rise tower—tentatively called One Power & Light—would open in 2015.

For Cordish, the Baltimore-based developer of the Kansas City Power & Light District, the high-rise apartment building would fulfill a residential tower concept first hatched in 2004.

A 15-story condo project was envisioned for 13th and Walnut, on the block where the former Jones Store was located, when the company was designing the eight-block entertainment district.

As part of the original development agreement, the city included a $6 million cash subsidy to help the residential project. About $3 million already has been spent at the site, now a parking lot, to prepare the foundation for a high-rise project.

That project, and later a proposal for a 35-story combined hotel and condo development, fell victim in part to the recession, which was particularly devastating to the condo market.

But with the downtown occupancy rate for apartments estimated at 98 percent, the development wind has shifted toward rental.

“It’s always been part of the plan and vision for the district to include residential,” said Nick Benjamin, executive director of the Power & Light District.“What we’ve seen in the growth of population and rental rates over the last five- or- six years suggests now is a good time to develop residential.

“It also complements the Power & Light District and the restaurants, bars and retail, and it’s obviously great for the grocery store.”

City officials also hope the residential development, , will help the entertainment district improve its financial performance.

The Power & Light District, which began opening in 2007, originally was conceived as a self-sustaining venture, repaying the $295 million in bonds issued by the city for its development with the additional tax revenues it was expected to generate from its restaurants and shops.

Those revenues however, have not been close to projection forcing the city to provide a $10- to $15 million annual subsidy to cover the shortfall.

The mayor’s office, which led the negotiations with Cordish, believes the additional investment for the residential development will pay off in the long run.

“We need to have more people spending money in the Power & Light District in order to reduce the amount we have to pay on the bonds,” said Danny Rotert, press secretary for James.

“A lot of money will be spent in the surrounding blocks by the people living in those buildings.”

The $8 million subsidy includes the remaining $3 million the city owes Cordish from the original 2004 development agreement. The remainder comes from a $10 million bond issue approved by the Kansas City Council last winter to subsidize more downtown housing development.

The new Cordish residential development is expected to generate an additional $8.1 million in property tax revenues over 25 years even with the 50 percent abatement, and much more in sales taxes and other revenues.

Councilwoman Jan Marcason, whose district includes downtown, supports the proposal, noting the city’s $8 million subsidy would be repaid by the new property taxes generated.

“I think the project is great,” she said. “It’s fabulous and shows continuing development downtown and much needed residential.”

James said the residential project, particularly the high-rise, is critical to attracting more people downtown, particularly younger professionals needed for Kansas City to compete with other cities.

“We have to be about economic progress,” James said. “It’s important to the city because it’s the type of residential housing that’s in great demand, and in great demand by the type of people we want living downtown.”

“Some of the criticism of the Power & Light District is overblown,” he added, “People need to understand it’s easy to say the city is paying $10 million- to $15 million in debt service, but a lot of that debt was to revamp a pre-Civil War infrastructure.

“What would they rather have? What was there before or what we have now?”

Experts on the downtown housing market say there’s no doubt about the demand.

There are about 7,200 residential units, mostly apartments, in the downtown core which includes the River Market, Central Business District and the Crossroads Arts District, according to a recent Downtown Council survey. The total population was estimated at 11,100.

Christina Boveri, a realtor whose work is focused on downtown, believes the occupancy rate is 98 percent.

“It’s so full I can’t find places for medical and dental students coming to town,” she said.

Because of the $57 million pricetag to build the a high-rise, the rents would be at the top of the market, at least $1.50 per square foot. The Midland would be less expensive, $1.30 per square foot. Its renovation cost was pegged at $12.5 million.

That means the price of a 750-square-foot one bedroom unit in the high-rise would be $1,125 per month; the average 1,050 square-foot two-bedroom unit would be $1,575. It would have 169 one-bedroom and 81 two-bedroom units.

Midland units would range from an average of $975 per month for a one-bedroom to $1,365 for a two-bedroom. The plan for the Midland calls for 53 one-bedroom and 15 two-bedroom.

While at the high-end, the rents proposed for One Power & Light are comparable to those proposed for a 204-unit luxury apartment development recently approved for 51st and Main streets.

They’re also in the range of the 323-unit Market Station apartment project in the River Market which opened in 2009 and is fully leased.

The glamor of living in downtown’s first new high-rise residential building also is expected to be a selling point. While the 909 Walnut condo development is taller at 36 stories, it’s a renovated Depression-era office building.

“I am 100 percent confident this will be a successful development,” she said. “Sixty percent of the people coming into downtown are from other areas and they’re not shocked by that price.”

Benjamin said the first level of the 23-story tower would have a 23-foot ceiling and include a lobby and leasing office. The second through fourth levels will have apartments on the south and east side, and storage units on the west where it abuts the parking garage.

A wrap-around outdoor deck will be on the fourth level with direct access to the rooftop Jones pool. Above that level, residential floors will have 9 ½ foot ceilings until the top floor where grander penthouse units are planned. Luxury fixtures include granite countertops, wood floors and a washer-dryer in each unit.

No architect has been hired, although Humphreys & Partners Architects of Dallas has prepared a conceptual design.

The parking garage, which also serves the Cosentino Market, would have 432 spaces reserved for residents of the One Power & Light tower and the Midland residences. The grocery store will continue to have 127 spaces and another 241 spaces will be available to the public for general use.

Bill Dietrich, the president and CEO of the Downtown Council, said the proposed Cordish development will go a long way towards fulfilling his organization’s goal of doubling the downtown population.

“This is a major benchmark in being able to get a couple of thousand, market-rate apartments in the next couple of years,” he said. “They’ll set a new high-water mark for developers.”

To reach Kevin Collison, development reporter, call 816-234-4289 or email [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @kckansascity.

Source:
http://www.kansascity.com/2012/06/20/3668134/cordish-plans-70-million-downtown.html
 

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Mostly Sane
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Good news for KC! I am struck by the resemblance to the proposed Minneapolis apartment tower. The developer has lopped off 5 floors so now it will be 27 instead of the 33 shown here, but methinks the KC tower and the Minny tower are bastard stepsisters :)

 

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The new tower will be built alongside of the 12-story Midland office building which will be renovated as apartments for this project. 23 new and 12 existing floors make this a significant project. And it's great to see the Midland restored. :banana:
 

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I put them side-by-side for an easier visual comparison. My first thought was holy crap, they're identical. But really, there are pretty distinct differences between the two designs. Also, the article mentions that One Power & Light does not yet have an assigned architect and this rendering is a conceptual design so I'd imagine we'd see changes as the project moves forward. The two buildings are very similar in design but I don't know about bastard stepsisters, haha.
 

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I am just glad at seeing some forward movement, and anything is better than a surface lot.
That plan has been in developmental hell for quite a while; I remember seeing the plans for it when the supermarket opened several years ago.
 

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Way to go KC! It sounds like quite a bit has been added to downtown over the past few years.
 

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lagom
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
What do you mean 'times like these' ? The economy isn't great but it's better than it has been.
Sorry Dale, been out of country since I posted this. I do agree with you the economy is better than years past. My times like these statement was made because in the Northland of KC (still KC city limits) there sit numerous undeveloped lots in subdivisions. I have friends who live in one area where they are surrounded by empty lots. I haven't seen much building of anything new here in KC. I was quite surprised to see a proposed condo tower for downtown KC when there are a number of buildings that are vacant and ready for residential conversion. I hope it does get built but from what I've read there have been previous proposals for Power and Light district that never came through.
 

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I was quite surprised to see a proposed condo tower for downtown KC when there are a number of buildings that are vacant and ready for residential conversion. I hope it does get built but from what I've read there have been previous proposals for Power and Light district that never came through.
I believe the proposed residential buildings in the original P&L plan were to be phased in, and were never planned to be built immediately. While the timeline was shifted back, the rental availability rate in downtown is -2%.

There are a few older buildings left, but not that many, and those that you might think are available might already have a plan in place. I can think of only 2 large buildings available for residential rehab; the KCPL tower and Mark Twain Building. Do you know of others?
 

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lagom
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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I believe the proposed residential buildings in the original P&L plan were to be phased in, and were never planned to be built immediately. While the timeline was shifted back, the rental availability rate in downtown is -2%.

There are a few older buildings left, but not that many, and those that you might think are available might already have a plan in place. I can think of only 2 large buildings available for residential rehab; the KCPL tower and Mark Twain Building. Do you know of others?
I agree KCPL is a good candidate for residential conversion. The Argyle Building is another one that comes to mind. Pickwick Plaza as well.
 

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^^
It does irk me to no end the developmental hell that the KCP&L building is in. Personally, what I hope for in the building is conversion to convention hotel space, though lofts would work.
I haven't seen much building of anything new here in KC. I was quite surprised to see a proposed condo tower for downtown KC when there are a number of buildings that are vacant and ready for residential conversion. I hope it does get built but from what I've read there have been previous proposals for Power and Light district that never came through.
Of course it would be nice for the old towers to be renovated and filled as much as possible. However, if the current rate of people moving into the area (many of them transplants from other cities after graduation) keeps up, or hopefully even increases, I am hopeful that you will see occupancy in in little time.
And, I am not sure at the size of the condos, but I hope that they begin to attract people wanting to settle down.
 

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Toasted Ravioli
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I believe the proposed residential buildings in the original P&L plan were to be phased in, and were never planned to be built immediately. While the timeline was shifted back, the rental availability rate in downtown is -2%.

There are a few older buildings left, but not that many, and those that you might think are available might already have a plan in place. I can think of only 2 large buildings available for residential rehab; the KCPL tower and Mark Twain Building. Do you know of others?
The orginal plan for p&l included a 30 story condo tower at this site, and for shorter condo towers to be built on the parking lots along truman where the murals are painted, those plans all disappeared when the economy tanked.

 

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Nice looking tower. Seems like there is some good movement in downtown KC in terms of residential conversions (currently about 1,200 units planned) and possibly new residential development. I read the YMCA is planning to build 400 units in downtown KC as well. Would be nice to see more mid-rises filling up the surface parking, though.
 
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