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Platform Ventures Plans Early 2020 Start for 14-Story Office Project

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(Editor’s note: Updated May 21. Platform Ventures was approved for a $70 million bond to build its 14-story office project by the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority Thursday.  The previously approved incentive package remains unchanged.

The firm plans to begin demolition soon on a vacant garage on the development site. A  groundbreaking for the tower itself has been delayed to allow the developer to take potential advantage of lower construction costs prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.)

By Kevin Collison

Platform Ventures plans to begin work early next year on a 14-story office project at 13th and Wyandotte that’s more than doubled in size since it was proposed 16 months ago.

The office tower is now planned to be 152,000 square feet and would be built above a 409-space, six-level garage. The original plan introduced in May 2018 called for 70,000 square-feet of office.

Brian Douglas, senior vice president at Platform Ventures, said the scope of the project has been increased in response to the pent-up demand for premium office space downtown located in a completely new building.

“There’s a huge bonus to be the first move on getting a new downtown office project going,” he said. “There’s a lot of people on the sidelines wondering if it would be us or Strata.”

The Strata office project proposed for 14th and Baltimore in the Power & Light District is currently on hold before the Kansas City Council.

The entrance to the new office building will be on the northeast corner of 13th and Wyandotte. (Rendering by Hoefer Wysocki)

Council members are concerned about the developers’ request the city’s credit be available to back the private bonds on their 250,000 square-foot office project and have asked them to come back with a better deal.

“We don’t see the Strata project as a rival,” Douglas said. “There’s more than enough demand to snap up.”

He said Platform Ventures’ office project already has “genuine interest” from tenants for over 50 percent of its space. It’s planned for the northeast corner of 13th and Wyandotte, directly across from Barney Allis Plaza.

Douglas said Platform Ventures expects to complete acquisition of a vacant parking garage on the development site by the end of this month with demolition beginning early next year. The firm already owns a vacant lot at the corner.

The office building is expected to be ready for tenants by late 2021.

The $70 million office project is part of a larger redevelopment plan the firm is pursuing for the block that includes converting the historic Kansas City Club into a 144-room boutique hotel and renovating part of the historic Muehlbach Hotel into 190 apartments.

The hotel project is underway and is expected to be completed by mid 2020. No timetable has been set for the Muehlbach project, which is considered phase three of the redevelopment plan.

This vacant garage on Wyandotte would be demolished to make way for the office development.

The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority approved a 25 year property tax abatement, 75 percent for 10 years, 37.5 percent for 15, last December.

The city also agreed to a $275,000 annual lease payment in exchange for 200 spaces in the garage to be available for public use during nights and weekends with a three percent annual adjustments, Douglas said.

Part of the project’s garage, 1 1/2- to 2 levels, will be underground. The remaining garage levels coupled with the office floors would make it a 14-story structure.

Douglas believes having the first new office project to be built downtown since the 1201 Walnut office tower was completed in 1991 will be well received in the marketplace.

“People are waiting for the first shovel to hit the ground,” he said.

The Platform Ventures office project, along with Strata and the planned renovation of the former AT&T building into premium office space, comes at a time the Downtown Council has identified office development as a primary goal to attract more companies to downtown.

“We’re moving as fast as we can to be the first,” Douglas said. “There’s been no Class A office built in downtown in 30 years.”

The architect is Hoefer Wysocki. The contractor will be McCownGordon.

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