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Downtown Apartment Plans Totaling $412M Filed Before New City Incentive Deadline

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3 minute read

By Kevin Collison

City Hall’s deadline before tighter tax incentive policies took effect prompted a final batch of applications for several downtown apartment proposals totaling 1,200 units, the largest a $254 million development at 15th and Main.

The biggest proposal was submitted by an entity called Sky Real Estate LLC. It calls for a 506-unit development that would be developed on both sides of Main Street between Truman Road and 16th Street.

The project at 15th and Main, which straddles the streetcar line, would replace the parking lot behind the former Hanna Rubber building on the west side of Main, and several properties on the east side including an existing auto service and tire business.

The development team was listed as a joint venture between Sky Real Estate, the Cordish Co. and J.E. Dunn Construction in the EDC application. It calls for work to begin in late 2022 with completion in late 2025 or early 2026.

The 15th and Main apartment project would be developed in the areas outlined in red on both sides of Main. (Map from EDC application)

In an email, Wes Grammer, president of Sky Real Estate, said it has taken several years for the development team to assemble the site for its proposed project.

“Our location in the Crossroads Arts District, and at the convergence of the Performing Arts, Convention, Power & Light, and Central Business Districts, presents an opportunity to complete a mixed-use, urban development at the active center of our City,” Grammer wrote.

“We have a lot of work ahead of us, but our partnership, including the Cordish Companies and JE Dunn Construction, has the experience to make this transformative redevelopment happen.

“With the expanding Streetcar running through our site, and the Downtown Council’s efforts to create a City-center park (proposed South Loop deck) to our north, we believe this development can be a driver for the future growth of Downtown Kansas City.”

No renderings of any of the proposed apartment projects were included with the EDC applications. Most developers could be reached immediately for comment.

They were filed to beat an early April deadline before new tax incentive policies approved two months ago by the City Council went into effect.

The new incentive policies reduced the maximum property tax abatement to 70 percent for 10 years and 30 percent for five, and mandated that 10 percent of housing units be set aside as affordable and another 10 percent as “extremely affordable.”

Maxus Properties is proposing a $63.4 million apartment project called Admiral Lofts just east of the AT&T Building. (Rendering from Clockwork Architects)

Developers had opposed the incentive changes, particularly the extremely affordable requirement, saying they would make their projects more difficult to be financially viable and potentially drive investment from the city.

A large number of applications had been expected to be filed in advance of the new policy.

In addition to the 15th and Main application, other new downtown proposals included:

A proposal by Maxus Properties for a 250-unit development on the city block between Sixth and Admiral, from Cherry to Oak.

The $63.4 million Admiral Lofts proposal would include 199 parking spaces and is intended to “serve young professionals that are new to the downtown core,” according to the EDC application.

Maxus also submitted two other proposals ahead of the city deadline, one for redeveloping the former AT&T building into 283 apartments, the other for another new, 235-unit development called Defeo, in the River Market at Third and Grand.

A tentative proposal by Sunflower Development Group and the Alexander Co. to build a 115-unit apartment project on a parking lot where the Shoppers Parkade garage once stood at the northeast corner of 11th and Grand.

That $30.5 million proposal calls for an apartment building atop a podium that would have 115 parking spaces. The facade of the first level would include retail space.

A proposal by Axis KC LLC to develop a 14-story apartment project with 338 units between Walnut and Grand, from Eighth to Ninth streets. The $64 million plan calls for 10 stories of apartments above a four-level, 496-space garage.

It would require the demolition of what’s described as a dilapidated garage.

This service station at the southeast corner of Truman and Main would be razed to make way for the 15th and Main apartment development. (Photo from EDC application)

All of the projects will be seeking tax incentives from the city.

The 15th and Main project would require the demolition of buildings at 1501, 1512, 1517 and 1519 Main St. In addition to the apartments, the development plan calls for 85,000 square-feet of commercial and retail space, and an 830-space parking garage.

According to the EDC application, the 15th and Main proposal would be built to “high standards of sustainability…

“The location and design of the project will also encourage more sustainable forms of transportation such as walking, streetcar, bicycling and bus.”

Last month, another round of last-minute applications were reported by CityScene totaling  more than $250 million, the largest being a $116 million, 300-unit apartment development proposed at 45th and Main called Museum Tower.

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