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Promise of Streetcar Expansion Prompts Developers to Pursue $16.3 Million Apartment Project on Main Street

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(Editor’s note: CityScene KC is taking a little time off to recharge its batteries in the Black Hills. Following the recent FTA decision to fund the planned extension of the streetcar from downtown to UMKC, the next few days will feature previous stories about the plans and ideas already set in motion along Main Street in anticipation of the new line.)

Previously published Sept. 29, 2017

By Kevin Collison

The hoped-for expansion of the streetcar route to UMKC on Main Street has prompted a new apartment proposal for a vacant lot at 3260 Main, just south of downtown near the Linwood intersection.

FFV partnership, a Kansas City-based development entity, wants to build a five-story apartment building with 82 market-rate units along the proposed streetcar route.

It would include one level of underground parking with 70 spaces for cars and 30 bicycle spaces as well as 7,710 square-feet of commercial space on the first floor.

The project received its initial approvals this week when the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority approved a blight designation necessary to qualify for tax incentives.

Bob Mayer, president of MR Capital Advisors, said the developers decided to move forward with their plan because of the streetcar extension proposal.

“The streetcar is the engine driving the bus,” he said, “not just with these developers but others looking at opportunities.”

The first concrete step toward extending the streetcar down Main occurred in August when voters living near the proposed route approved establishing a Transportation Development District. Another round of voting is scheduled Oct. 7 to elect TDD board members.

The streetcar project however, still has significant challenges.

City voters approved a petition resolution in August that requires any further city funding for a streetcar expansion to receive citywide approval. The legality of that resolution has been questioned however, and the City Council can vote to override it.

The streetcar expansion also would require substantial federal funding, a source that’s become more uncertain in Washington with the current administration.

The proposed 82-unit apartment project would be built on a vacant lot once occupied by an auto body shop.

The proposed apartment project at 3260 Main would be built on a half-acre site previously occupied by an auto body shop that was demolished in 2013. The property currently has an assessed value of $120,000. The developer will be seeking a 10-year, 70 percent property tax abatement.

The plan calls for 58 one-bedroom, and 24 two-bedroom units with monthly rents ranging from $800- to $1,000 per month including parking. The development is close to a 80-unit modular apartment project built recently by Mac Properties at 3435 Main.

The FFV proposal is scheduled to be reviewed by the City Plan Commission on Oct. 17.

“Ideally, we want to break ground in January and have the project completed by the end of 2018,” Mayer said.

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