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Port KC Endorses Downtown Office Projects, Big Google Deal; Potential Affordable Housing Discussed

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2 minute read

By Kevin Collison

The Port KC board took a big development dive Monday, endorsing plans for two downtown office buildings, learning affordable housing may be on course for the riverfront and approving incentives for a potential $600 million Google data center in the Northland.

The two office projects are proposed for the River Market and Crossroads areas and both would be on the streetcar line. One is a $25 million plan for a five-story building at Third and Delaware, the other a $25 million, six-story project at 1822 Main St.

Developer Craig Slawson is proposing a 64,000 square-foot office building that would occupy what’s now a parking lot at Third and Delaware. He is in discussions with two potential tenants, one from out-of-state that would employ 60 to 100 people.

“It’s designed to be an incredible addition and furthers the River Market’s desire to grow in a thoughtful way by adding more daytime activity,” Jon Stephens, Port KC executive director, told the board.

Slawson is seeking a 25-year property tax abatement for his plan which will be considered by Port KC at a later date. The board vote indicated its willingness to continue negotiations. The developer has said he’d to complete the project by spring 2021.

The office project at 1822 Main is proposed by Panoge LLC and would include three floors of office above three levels of parking. It would require the demolition of an old bank building dating to 1915 that is not listed as a historic landmark.

The project is being developed to be the new headquarters of the Stueve Siegel Hanson law firm and also would include speculative office space. The law firm employs 40- to 50 people and would occupy one floor. The proposed garage would have 120 spaces.

Panoge is seeking a 25-year property tax abatement, 75 percent abatement the first 10 years and 37.5 percent the remaining 15 years. As was the case with the River Market project, the developer will have to return to the Port KC board for final approval of his development plan.

A development map shown the Port KC board indicates potential sites for affordable housing projects in yellow. (Map by Port KC)

The potential new affordable housing projects were the subject of a brief presentation to the board.

Joe Perry, development director for the authority, said Port KC is in talks with three potential developers for two separate affordable projects in the Berkley Riverfront Park development area. The number of potential units was not disclosed.

Two weeks ago, the Port KC development committee was briefed on a proposed, market-rate 300- to 350-unit apartment project that would be located between The Union Berkley Riverfront apartments and Bar K if a deal can be reached with its prospective developer.

In addition to the apartment projects, Perry said discussions are underway with a potential developer to build a boutique hotel near the riverfront.

Finally, while not downtown, the board voted to approve issuing up to $25 billion in bonds for a potential Google data center in the Northland.

The first phase of the plan calls for a $600 million, free-standing building that would employ fewer than 100 people.

The $25 billion in bonds, which would provide a property tax abatement for the data center development, would be available for future expansions over the next 35 years if Google goes ahead with the project. It would be located on 78 acres in the Hunt Midwest Business Center.

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