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Lux Downtown Tower Deal Nixed, New Buyer Sought for Land

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2 minute read

By Kevin Collison

Lux Living’s proposed high-rise hotel and apartment proposal at 14th and Wyandotte has collapsed after the property’s California owner stopped extending its development agreement in order to seek a new buyer.

The almost $200 million development proposed by the St. Louis developer next door to the historic Power & Light Building had called for a 27-story development that would have included 200 hotel rooms and 300 apartments.

Lux Living was able to obtain public support for the deal–it was approved for significant tax incentives–but was unable to complete the land purchase with Red Oak Capital, the owner of the site at the northeast corner of 14th and Wyandotte.

“Our client (Red Oak) decided to go in a different direction for the site,” said Stephen Madura, vice president of Hilco Real Estate.

“We’ve started an accelerated national sales process to identify a buyer that can bring the property to a closing in an expedited fashion, and develop something in line with what the city wants and needs for this area.”

The Lux tower was planned on a site next to the historic Power & Light building which is now an apartment building. (Rendering from DLR Group)

Victor Alston of Lux Living could not be reached for comment.

Dan Moye, executive director of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, said his agency will still push for a major project on the site and is willing to continue working with Lux Living.

In August, the LCRA board unanimously approved a 17-year property tax abatement for the proposal, 80 percent for 10 years, 50 percent for seven. It also waived the sales tax on construction materials.

Lux Living had received extensions to completing the sale of the property, but the delays finally led Red Oak to end the agreement and seek a new buyer for the property.

This is the third failed apartment proposal by Lux in recent months.

The developer recently scrapped its plan to build at 250-unit apartment development on riverfront property owned by Port KC. The developer also is no longer pursuing the 230-unit Freight House Village proposal in the Crossroads.

LuxLiving is currently redeveloping the former Katz drugstore at Main and Westport Road into a 192-unit apartment project.

Substantial construction has occurred at two other Lux projects, the 215-unit Wonderland project at 19th and Broadway, and the 192-unit Katz project at Westport Road. Both buildings have been framed and enclosed, but work has slowed in recent weeks.

Also, Lux Living is the subject of a federal investigation in St. Louis, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The newspaper reported the U.S. Attorney’s office has subpoenaed records related to a tax abatement granted for a Lux apartment project in that city.

The property owned by Red Oak where the Lux tower was proposed is considered a prime redevelopment site across from the new Blue Cross Blue Shield headquarters and next to one of the city’s iconic Art Deco buildings.

Part of the site is currently a surface parking lot, the other plot is a rubble-strewn lot and an eyesore left over after the demolition of an old garage.

Moye said the city still wants “something exciting” to be built at that location. The past year has been difficult for developers however, because of high interest rates and escalating construction costs.

Madura said his firm will be soliciting offers for the property and then reviewing proposals to determine the highest and best offer.

“Lux still could come back as a buyer and they’re welcome to do so,” he said.

“The previous timing didn’t work, but what they were proposing is of interest to the city and we’ve met with economic development people in Kansas City.”

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