The downtown housing boom continues.
On Monday, the Cordish Cos., riding the success of its three-month-old One Light luxury apartment tower in downtown Kansas City, signaled it is pushing hard on its next two towers nearby.
The developer of the Power & Light District held a groundbreaking ceremony for Two Light at the work site. The 24-story tower, once it opens in March 2018, will stand just a few blocks from One Light.
Also, Cordish started the clock on Three Light and affirmed its interest in a fourth downtown residential tower for its popular entertainment district.
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Cordish officially opened the One Light apartment tower at 13th and Walnut streets last December. Construction of Two Light, at Walnut and Truman Road, is expected to take about two years.
“The plan is to start Three before we finish Two,” said Nick Benjamin, executive director of the Cordish Co.’s Power & Light District.
Benjamin said the sites for Cordish’s Three and Four Light towers will be the surface parking lots adjacent to the Alamo Drafthouse Mainstreet Theater and directly south of the Bristol Seafood Grill and BRGR Kitchen + Bar restaurants.
It is too early to offer details such as the footprints, heights and floor plans of those build ings, he said.
Cordish developed the district with an expectation of building four residential towers downtown. Benjamin said demand for housing has been strong and that 94 percent of One Light’s 315 units already are leased.
One Light was the first new residential tower built in or near downtown since the San Francisco Tower opened in 1976 in Crown Center.
At Monday’s groundbreaking ceremony, Kansas City Mayor Sly James praised the towers as part of a continuing revival of the city that has included the Sprint Center, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, the Crossroads Arts District, the streetcar and more.
“These types of developments solidify our city’s place at the top of the list when it comes to being a world-class city,” James said at the ceremony.
Downtown, from the River Market to Union Hill, has seen a burst of residential development and plans, including the conversion of the Kansas City Power & Light skyscraper into apartments and Founders at Union Hill.
“You’re seeing development in downtown Kansas City that hasn’t been seen in generations,” said Bill Dietrich, president of the Downtown Council. “The demand for residential living in downtown is off the hook, and that continues with Two Light.”
Construction of additional Cordish apartments follows on the success the company said it has had with One Light. Benjamin said it is filled with a wide mix of residents, including young entrepreneurs, corporate executives and professional athletes. He said 40 percent of the residents are 40 years old or older.
Rents at Two Light will be similar to the $1,100 to $3,700 range at One Light.
Two Light will be 24 stories tall and provide 300 living units among its 510,000 square feet of space.
Residents will enjoy open-concept layouts with 9-feet-6-inch ceilings and windows that run that distance. Porcelain, quartz and natural stone finishes join with tile, wood and carpet flooring.
Shared amenities include an outdoor deck overlooking 14th Street, indoor spa and fitness areas, a billiards lounge, a social parlor and a heated infinity pool.
The $110 million price includes some public funding for the parking garage and an abatement of property taxes for 25 years on the improved value. The mortgage on the finished tower also carries FHA backing through the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Construction of Two Light means 1,500 full-time jobs, with nearly all of the site work involving union crews especially from the carpenters and iron workers unions, said Dirk Schafer, president of J.E. Dunn Construction Co., the general contractor on both towers and the Power & Light District.
One Light is one story taller than its first sibling will be.
The new structure, nevertheless, easily will obscure the Kansas City mural on the side of a building that sits directly north of the Two Light site. The mural depicts Kansas City jazz and the Monarchs baseball team, serving as a welcome sign to downtown’s entertainment zone.
Benjamin said Cordish plans to turn to the mural’s artist, Alexander Austin, to re-create the mural on the north side of the parking garage that is part of Two Light. The company had hired Austin to paint the mural that provided a backdrop for the event Monday.