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Ability KC Plans Medical Office Building, Retail on Streetcar Route

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2 minute read

By Kevin Collison

Ability KC wants to build a 3 1/2 story office building and four-level garage at 31st Terrace and Main, the latest big project proposed along the route of the planned streetcar extension from downtown to UMKC.

The nonprofit organization, which currently operates the Children’s Center Campus at the southeast corner of 31st and Main, describes its mission as providing educational, vocational and therapeutic services to children and adults with disabilities.

It has submitted a development proposal to city planners that calls for a 106,000 square-foot building at the southeast corner of 31st Terrace and Main. It would include ground floor retail along with medical office and educational space.

The proposal also calls for a four-level, 255-space garage to be built immediately east of the Children’s Center Campus building with an entrance off 31st Terrace,

Officials at Ability KC could not be reached immediately for comment about their plan.

The architect listed with the proposed project, bc Design Group of Overland Park, referred inquiries to Ability KC. There were no renderings available other than schematic drawings filed with the city.

Ability KC wants to build its new office building (thatched) at 31st Terrace and Main south of its existing facility, and a garage (thatched) immediately east. (Site plan from City Planning Department application)

Ability KC traces its roots to 1947, when Mary Shaw Branton, Jeanette Luhnow and Jane Dick founded the therapeutic preschool for children with special needs, according to its website.

At the same time, Vivian Shepherd worked to provide outpatient medical rehabilitation and employment services for veterans returning home from World War II.

Seventy years later, Children’s Therapeutic Learning Center and Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City, came together as Ability KC. The agency currently serves 3,000 individuals with disabilities and their families annually, according to the website.

The Ability KC plan is one of several major development proposals have been completed, introduced or contemplated along the planned streetcar route. The line is expected to become operational in early 2025.

Mac Properties is proposing a $100 million, 385-unit apartment project with some retail at the southwest corner of Armour and Main.

The proposed site of the new office building includes this vacant lot and the building at 3129 Main in the background.

Exact Partners is pursuing the redevelopment of the historic Kansas City National Guard Armory block at 36th and Main as a residential and retail project.

Exact also recently completed the renovation of the historic Netherlands Hotel and Monarch Storage building near 39th and Main into a 144-unit apartment project. The firm also is planning to redevelop the historic ABC Storage building at Linwood into apartments.

Lux Living has been approved for a 192-unit apartment project at Westport Road that would include the renovation of the historic Katz Drugstore.

Farther south, a co-venture between the Merriman Family and Burns & McDonnell is pursuing a $116 million apartment project called Museum Tower at 45th and Main.

Other major development sites are listed for sale along Main Street including the former Conklin Fangman auto dealership at 3200 Main and the Park Reserve property at the northwest corner of 31st and Main.

Liam Dai contributed to this report

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