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Developer Snaps Up Buildings on Main Near Planned Streetcar Stops Betting on Public Transit

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Above image credit: Exact Partners has purchased this building at 39th and Main. (Kevin Collison | CityScene KC)
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Exact Partners is continuing to snap up properties along the planned streetcar extension on Main Street, purchasing two office buildings at corners near where stops will be located at 31st and 39th streets.

The firm, which includes Caleb Buland of Exact Architects and his partner Ilan Salzberg of Denver, is investing $10 million in the purchase and renovation of the former MainCor building at 3215 Main St. and an office building at 3901 Main St..

“They’re both right in front of future streetcar stops and have vacancies we could fill,” Buland said. “We thought it would be great for Main Street to turn them into true Class A office space.”

Exact Partners already been aggressively acquiring prominent properties along Main in Midtown in anticipation of the streetcar extension from downtown to UMKC.

The firm recently completed a $34 million renovation of the historic Netherland Hotel and Monarch Storage buildings into 144 apartments near 39th and Main streets. They’ve also landed a new restaurant and bar concept called Canary for the first floor and the rooftop.

The developers also have purchased the old Kansas City National Guard Armory and nearby  properties at 3620 Main St. with plans to convert it to a boutique hotel, food hall and other retail.

The former MainCor office building at 3215 Main St. also has been acquired by Exact Partners. (Kevin Collison | CityScene KC)

“I think it’s incredibly exciting and it validates the overall interest in midtown and the streetcar extension,” said Kevin Klinkenberg, executive director of Midtown KC Now.

“They’re a first class group and having them securing additional buildings will do wonders for Main Street.”

The two-story building at 3215 Main opened in 2001 and originally was the headquarters of MainCor, the precursor to Midtown KC Now.

The organization of property and business owners operates a community improvement district along the Main Street corridor from roughly the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City to the American Century towers.

Buland said plans call for renovating the 20,000-square-foot building to become a medical office building that would have urgent care, dental and other healthcare services easily accessible by downtown and Midtown residents using the streetcar.

“We want it to be the go-to stop for day-to-day medical service firms,” he said.

The 40,000 square-foot building at 3901 Main opened in 2000 and is currently home to a Great American Bank branch, Pizza Hut and other tenants on the first level. The second level houses the studios of KKFI FM, a community radio station.

Caleb Buland at the Wonder Shops + Flats, a development his firm completed on Troost Avenue. (Kevin Collison | CityScene KC)

Buland said the partners would like the first floor of the building to be a financial center for the neighborhood.

“We’re looking at consumer-driven financial services like appraisers and title services,” he said.

The second level is anticipated as accommodating professional and personal services.

As for KKFI?

“We’ll try to keep them there,” Buland said. “They’re a cool tenant.”

Both buildings also have large surface parking lots. Buland said that will help provide relief parking for the nearby Netherland and Monarch buildings, and the Kansas City Armory.

The planned streetcar extension however, is one of the bigger selling points. Buland said that for the first time, lenders are considering the new transit service as an additional reason to offer loans.

“This is the first time we’ve done something on Main where we heard from our banks that they’re attracted because of the positive energy that’s starting to be real,” he said.

Exact Partners also has been active redeveloping other nearby areas of Midtown and the urban core.

The firm recently completed the renovation of the historic Wonder Bread bakery building at 30th Street and Troost Avenue into the Wonder Flats + Shops development. The $18 million project included 87 apartments along with retail and office space.

Exact also has purchased, along with other developers, a key section of the Martini Corner entertainment area and is planning a $3 million upgrade. The properties are on the north side of 31st Street between Gillham Road and Oak Street and include Ollie’s, Sol Cantina and Brickhouse.

And one block away, Exact recently completed the $4.8 million renovation of the former Acme building at 3200 Gillham Road into 27 apartments and the new home of the Kansas City Artists Coalition.

Flatland contributor Kevin Collison is founder and publisher of CityScene KC, an online source for downtown news and issues.

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