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Boutique Hotel, Condos Planned for ‘Skinny’ Lot in River Market

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2 minute read

By Kevin Collison

A developer is planning to nestle a five-story boutique hotel and condo building amidst the “prettiest block” of 19th Century buildings in Kansas City.

Attorney Gino Serra and partners Mike Heitmann and Scott Hallier are planning the project for a narrow, vacant tract at 413 Delaware.

Serra said the “skinny” lot had been empty since at least the 1970s and had been owned by several architects who envisioned building there before Heitmann purchased it about 10 years ago.

Heitmann is the developer of 41 Penn, a condo and commercial building in the heart of Westport. He and Hallier formed an entity called Classical Developments to pursue the redevelopment of the Delaware site.

“What ended up moving this project forward is the streetcar,” Serra said.

“It’s one of the prettiest blocks of 19th Century buildings in the city and then you add the streetcar which makes it more enticing.”

The proposed location for the project is currently a vacant lot, the site of a 1901 fire that damaged what was then the Western Stores dry goods business. (Photo courtesy Tom Gerend)

The design calls for the basement level to be used for six parking spaces off the alley behind the property and the front section for a potential commercial use with access from  Delaware.

The first level would have commercial space in front and the back half reserved for two rooms in the 14-room hotel. The second and third floors each would have six hotel rooms. An atrium is planned to bring natural light and windows to the hotel rooms.

The fourth and fifth levels each would be 2,750 square-foot condominiums occupied by Serra and Hetimann. The rooftop would have amenities for the condo residents including a pool, outdoor grill and patio.

“The whole idea is to maximize the use of the lot to make our budget work,” Serra said, adding it was too early to provide a cost estimate for the plan.

“It won’t be cheap, materials have gone through the roof,” he said.

A site plan of the project proposed for 413 Delaware. (Site plan from City Planning Department application)

Serra did say no tax incentives will be sought for the project.

At one point, the developers had been considering creating a short-term rentals for the project, but scrapped that plan.

The River Market neighborhood currently lacks a hotel although there are plans for one in the works for the riverfront.

The project also would be across the street from a proposed retail development that would utilize shipping containers proposed by developer Craig Slawson.

While the building design has been submitted to city planners, Serra said the timetable for construction is uncertain with a possible start next year.

He envisions the condo as his home when he becomes an empty nester in a couple years, about the time the streetcar extension from downtown to UMKC on Main Street is completed in early 2025.

“It’ll be a huge plus to be able to get on the streetcar and go to dinner on the Plaza,” Serra  said.

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