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Big Apartment Project Proposed for Volker Neighborhood by KU Med

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3 minute read

By Kevin Collison

Milhaus, one of the city’s most prolific apartment builders, is pursuing a 224-unit project in the Volker neighborhood on what’s now a parking lot across State Line Road from the KU Med campus.

The proposed Jamestown Square development would be located on what’s now a large surface lot serving businesses along 39th and Bell streets including Blue Koi, Jimmy’s Jiggers and Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill.

The apartment project would wrap around a 360-space garage that would include 125 spaces to replace those lost to the businesses along with parking for the apartment residents.

The garage entrance would be off State Line Road. The preliminary proposal calls for businesses to validate the reserved parking used by their customers.

If successful, it would be the first major development on the Missouri side since West 39th, a 70-unit apartment and retail project, opened at the northeast corner of 39th and State Line in 2013.

The Jamestown Square project would replace this surface across State Line Road from KU Med.

Over the past decade, huge investments have been made at the University of Kansas Hospital and KU Med, adding hundreds of employees, but for the most part, the 39th Street commercial district on the Missouri side has been relatively quiet.

At a virtual neighborhood meeting in March, John McGurk of Milhaus said the proposed Jamestown Square project would hope to attract KU Med employees as tenants.

McGurk declined to comment when asked Monday about the plan, only to say its remains in the preliminary stage.

Milhaus has filed an application with the city notifying the developer may be seeking tax incentives for the deal, but no formal plan for Jamestown Square has been submitted to the City Plan Commission.

Preliminary site plan for Jamestown Square, the apartment structure would wrap around a garage with green space behind commercial buildings on 39th Street and a private resident courtyard at southwest corner. (Site plan from developer presentation)

The Indianapolis developer has recently built urban core projects including the Gallerie apartments near Crown Center, the Marcato development at 27th and Troost, Artistry KC in the East Crossroads and is developing the Tracks project in the Crossroads.

The proposed Jamestown Square apartment project would be about five-stories along State Line Road and four-stories along Bell Street. It would include a private courtyard on the south side of the development.

The property that would be sold to Milhaus for the project is owned by an entity called Cadence, which also owns some of the commercial buildings bordering the parking lot.

The preliminary development plan calls for a green space area to be located on the north side of the apartments providing a buffer with the businesses on 39th Street. That space may be available for outdoor dining for the restaurants.

The mix of units in the building would be studios, ones- and two-bedroom units, McGurk told the Volker Neighborhood Association at the virtual meeting in March. Estimated rents would range from $1,100 to $2,200 per month.

Preliminary ‘massing’ rendering of project from 39th and Bell with d’Bronx in foreground. (Rendering from developer presentation)

The proposed development would require the demolition of several buildings along Bell Street. The site however, would not extend as far south as 40th Street leaving buildings along that street intact.

The side of the development facing Bell Street would include porches and balconies to blend with the neighborhood across the street. The developers also intend to keep the mature trees along the street.

The design team is Helix Architecture + Design and SixTwentyOne, both of Kansas City.

If the plan moves ahead, a preliminary time schedule calls for construction to begin in May 2022 with completion in May 2024.

A preliminary ‘massing’ rendering of how Jamestown Square would appear along State Line Road looking north. (Rendering from developer presentation)

Patrick Faltico, president of the Volker Neighborhood Association, said Monday his board is pleased the developers have been responsive to suggestions from the neighborhood.

“In general, there’s a mixed reception in the neighborhood,” he said. “Quite a few people are excited and think it’s a good thing to bring in more affluent residents with money to spend in the neighborhood.”

“Of course, some people will have to leave their homes if they’re torn down.”

One of the dwellings that would be demolished is a small apartment building at 3932-34 Bell St. that former President Harry Truman had an ownership stake in for a few months in the 1921.

While known in the neighborhood as the Harry Truman building, it does not have historic designation and is not protected from demolition.

Faltico also noted the proposed site of the Jamestown Square project was designated for mid- to high-density residential development in the Midtown/Plaza Area Plan prepared by the city.

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