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New Development Proposal Surfaces for Third and Grand in River Market

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3 minute read

By Kevin Collison

A mixed-use project that includes 145 apartments has been selected by the development arm of the KCATA as its first choice for redeveloping a parking lot it controls at Third and Grand.

The RideKC Development Corp. board chose a plan submitted by CBC Real Estate Group and EPC Real Estate Group for the authority property in the River Market after issuing a request for proposals last summer.

Two other KC Area Transportation Authority properties, land at 12th and Charlotte in the East Village and a parking lot at 31st and Troost, also were part of the RFP.

Milhaus development of Indianapolis was chosen for the 31st and Troost site. RideKC Development plans to negotiate an agreement with Milhaus for what’s expected to be a 52-unit apartment project with a significant number of affordable units.

As for the 12th and Charlotte site, Brien Starner, president of RideKC Development, said the board delayed action because of the possibility the larger East Village development area could be the site of a potential downtown ballpark for the Kansas City Royals.

“With the discussions on a ballpark stadium, we decided to put it on hold,” he said. “It’s probably not wise to move forward until it becomes clearer on what might happen.”

Starner added it will likely be 18- to 24 months before Milhaus could move forward with its 31st and Troost redevelopment plan.

Aerial view of Third and Grand proposal (center) submitted by CBC/EPC. Image from developer

As for Third and Grand, Starner said three developers responded to the RideKC Development request for proposals.

In addition to the CBC/EPC proposal, the agency had responses from Arnold Development, which is developing the nearby Second and Delaware apartment project, and Briarcliff Development, which resubmitted its earlier plan for an office project.

“It’s a good indiction there’s a lot of interest in the market for transportation oriented development,” Starner said. “I trace it back to the evolution of the streetcar line.

“As developers struggle in this environment to figure out what developments will look like in five- to seven years, a big concern is the cost of parking and not wanting to overbuild parking.”

Starner said CBC/EPC partnership was chosen as the “preferred developer” and has been given 90 days to reach a predevelopment agreement with RideKC Development.

The CBC/EPC preliminary plan calls for a six-story development that includes 161 apartments, 30,000 square feet of office space and a 3 1/2-level, parking garage with 220 spaces.

“It’s a great site at the terminus of the streetcar,” said Bill Crandall, a principal at CBC. “Our project will include a multi-modal component that will accommodate the streetcar, bus transit, scooters and ride share.”

Crandall said his firm is early in the development process and the breakdown of apartments and commercial space are in flux. A hotel also could be part of the mix.

“We are just now continuing our discussions with RideKC and the KCATA,” he said. “We plan to meet next week to begin to work out the development agreement.”

The rival mixed-use plan submitted by Arnold Development would resemble the super-green, energy efficient Second and Delaware project currently under construction.

That 276-unit project is being built using insulated concrete and is expected to be completed by late summer of next year.

Arnold’s $111 million proposal for Third and Grand calls for 212 apartments and 75,000 square feet of office space. Forty percent of the units would be reserved as affordable. Monthly rents would range from $434 to $1,490.

The plan includes 612 parking paces with 93 available to the public during the day.

“We put together what we thought was a winning proposal for Kansas City and its still in process,” said Jonathan Arnold.

“Third and Grand is an important site in the River Market adjacent to the City Market and on the streetcar and a number of bus lines.

“It’s currently a hole between Columbus Park and the River Market.”

Briarcliff Development resubmitted its earlier office plan in response to the RideKC Development RFP. (Image from BNIM)

Arnold said Berkshire Hathaway, an investor in the Second and Delaware apartments, also is interested in investing in his proposal for Third and Grand. Berkshire Hathaway’s chief executive is Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett.

“For Kansas City to continue to build a relationship with Berkshire Hathaway is a really good thing for the city,” he said.

Starner said if RideKC Development can’t reach a predevelopment agreement with CBC/EPC, the agency could then turn to the other respondents to negotiate a deal or start the search process over.

He said the Briarcliff proposal is fundamentally the same as the 200,000 square-foot office project the firm originally submitted to the KCATA.

The authority decided last summer not to renew its development agreement with Briarcliff citing lack of progress on the proposal after four years.

(Editor’s note: Beginning Dec. 2, CityScene KC will become a paid subscription publication)

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