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Plan to Redevelop Historic ABC Building on Main Clears First Hurdle

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3 minute read

By Kevin Collison

A $13 million redevelopment proposal for two historic buildings near Linwood and Main on the planned streetcar route cleared its first hurdle Tuesday with a development agency approving a blight designation and preliminary plan.

Exact Partners wants to renovate the six-story ABC Storage Building at 3244 Main and an adjoining three-story building at 3420 Main into a 50- to 60-unit apartment project with a rooftop café.

“I agree this is an area we would like to see redeveloped,” said City Councilwoman Andrea Bough, a member of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority.

“I do support this project and look forward to what they’re going to bring back to us in a couple months.”

The LCRA approved the blight designation unanimously. The developer still must return to the agency to seek property tax abatements for the project, and the entire plan also must be approved by the City Council.

Bough said the redevelopment is supported by the council members representing the area, Eric Bunch and Katheryn Shields.

The second phase of the Exact Partners redevelopment plan includes building a 132-unit apartment project at the northwest corner of 37th and Main.

The redevelopment of the 114 year-old ABC building and the adjoining building that opened in 1912 as the Anderson Electric Car dealership would be the first phase of a larger plan by Exact to redevelop the nearby block on the north side of Main from 36th to 37th streets.

Exact wants to renovate the historic Kansas City National Guard Armory at 36th and Main into residential and commercial space, and build a 132-unit apartment project at the northwest corner of 37th and Main.

The apartment building would include 10,000 square feet of retail space, according to documents filed with the LCRA. The plan also calls for creating an outdoor patio adjoining the Armory, a 94-space underground garage and 93 spaces of surface parking.

Exact also wants to build eight townhomes behind the Main Street projects on Baltimore Avenue.

The entire redevelopment project, including the ABC renovation, was estimated at about $50 million.

Caleb Buland of Exact has said previously the main floor of the ABC building could be a small grocery store, restaurant or specialty urban retailer such as DGX that sells food and household essentials.

The historic armory building at 3620 Main has been vacant for about 15 years. Exact wants to renovate it into residential and commercial space.

The historic rehab elements of the plan would be exempted from the Council affordable housing ordinance however, Daniel Moye, LCRA executive director, said many of the apartments are expected to rent at 65- to 75 percent of Area Median Income.

“It is good to see the developer already is projecting to have some below 100 percent, 80 percent of AMI units which is what we’ve seen with them in the past,” Moye said.

Exact has been active redeveloping in the urban core renovating the historic Netherlands Hotel and Monarch Storage buildings near 39th and Main into 144 apartments, and the former Wonder Bread bakery at 30th and Troost into apartments and commercial space.

In another matter, Moye briefed the LCRA board about development activity assisted by city agencies during the last fiscal year that ran from May 2021 through the end of April.

He displayed charts indicating 60 percent of projects that received tax incentives through the LCRA, Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA) and the Chapter 100 program were in the Third City Council District that covers the East Side.

A chart prepared by the KC Economic Development Corp. found 60 of the projects receiving city incentives in the last fiscal year were in the Third Council District covering the East Side. (Chart by the EDC)

The remaining 40 percent of the projects receiving assistance during that period were in the Fourth Council District that includes downtown, Midtown and Northeast Kansas City.

The value of the projects however, skewed toward the Fourth District totaling $294.7 million. The Third District projects totaled $181.5 million. Moye explained that projects in the Fourth tended to be larger and more expensive.

The LCRA exec also pointed out a property tax abatement program his agency offers to home owners living in designated areas. Those incentives were awarded to 113 single-family homes.

“Any homeowner in urban renewal area is eligible for a property tax abatement if they make an investment in their property of a certain level,” Moye said.

“It’s a program that we try to make sure folks are aware of and want to find ways to continue to expand it.”

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