Published February 11th, 2021 at 1:15 PM2 minute read
By Kevin Collison
The new developer of the planned Tracks apartment project in the Freight House District has revised its design to bring a much friendlier face to the neighborhood along 22nd Street.
The revamped look of the 203-unit apartment development calls for 19 residences to be built on two-levels along the 22nd Street frontage, replacing a previous plan that would have faced the street with a parking garage.
“I think this is a much better plan for the neighborhood and I think it’s a much better plan that I get excited about,” said John McGurk of Milhaus. “I’m really excited about the direction of where this going.”
New renderings of the $52.5 million project along with a briefing on its revisions were presented recently during a video conference call to city development officials and representatives of taxing jurisdictions including the Kansas City Public School District.
Indianapolis-based Milhaus recently replaced Greystar as a partner in the Tracks deal with Vincent Bryant of 3D Development. The Tracks project is part of a larger $310 million redevelopment concept Bryant is pursuing for the Freight House area.
“Ultimately we feel this is an improvement to a conceptual model and application as we’re getting into the particulars,” Bryant said during the briefing. “We’re ready to move forward, John’s trying to get this financed right now and moving into rezoning.”
What was then called the Tracks 215 project was first introduced by Bryant in 2019. It originally called for 250 apartments atop a 400-space garage on what’s now a parking lot west of the historic Freight House building.
Bryant won approval last year of a unique incentive deal for the project that involved both the use of tax-increment financing and property tax abatements.
The Tracks parking garage was intended to replace the 150 surface spaces taken for the development and currently used by business tenants, and add spaces for apartment residents.
The developer obtained a 15-year property tax abatement to help finance the apartment side of the project. The TIF funding intended to help build the garage came from revenues generated by other nearby properties owned by Bryant.
The revised Tracks proposal being pursued by Milhaus calls for a smaller, 268-space garage with 150 spaces continuing to be reserved for the nearby businesses and 118 set aside for apartment residents.
The building calls for five levels of residential atop a roughly 2 1/2 level garage. About 40 parking spaces were eliminated in the new design to provide space for the 19 new, street-facing apartments.
“I think the neighborhood was very receptive and planning department was very receptive to that screening of the parking,” McGurk said. “I think this is a much better plan overall than what was previously presented by Greystar.”
During the briefing, McGurk told participants the average apartment size in the revamped project will be about 722 square-feet, down from the 900 square-foot average in the Greystar plan. Monthly rents are expected to be about $2.17 per square foot.
The project update estimated the Tracks development is expected to be completed in September 2023.
Milhaus recently completed the 338-unit Artistry KC apartment development in the East Crossroads. The firm entered the Kansas City market in September 2017 when it won approval for a 182-unit market-rate project at 27th and Troost called Marcato.
Since then, the firm has developed 920 apartments between the Artistry, Gallerie and Marcato projects, and negotiating with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority to develop a 52-unit apartment project at a lot owned by the agency at 31st and Troost.
Liam Dai contributed to this report