A vacant building in midtown Kansas City, once associated with an ice cream maker, is slated to become part of a multi-use redevelopment, adding to a boom in apartment construction between Hospital Hill and Hyde Park.
El Dorado Inc. architects and Epoch Developments have teamed to propose reuse of the vacant Levy Building on the northeast corner of 31st Street and Gillham Road plus construction of a new apartment building to the north.
The existing 35,471-square-foot building, constructed in 1925 for the Levy Brothers Meat and Provision Co., was occupied from 1947 to 1985 by Velvet Freeze Ice Cream.
With a nod to history, the developers have named the project 31 Levy. They aim to start construction this fall and complete it in fall 2017.
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The corner building would be transformed into a ground-floor restaurant facing 31st Street plus 29 apartment units on floors one through three, with a fourth story to be added for six more units.
Immediately north of the reclaimed building, the plan calls for construction along Gillham of a four-story, U-shaped apartment building on top of a parking garage. The 83,000-square-foot new building would have 88 studio, one- and two-bedroom units.
The layout allows for a shared alleyway, patio and green space between the two buildings with provision for a cafe or small shop.
El Dorado architects said a key feature will be the apartments’ bike friendliness. The plan includes a bike wash station and maintenance area in the garage, bike ramps in the building stairwells and bike storage space in each unit.
Other unusual features are a green roof on the new building and a vertical “green wall” on the west facade of the new construction.
Architect Doug Stockman said the property requires a zoning change from light industrial to mixed use. It lies within an existing Planned Industrial Expansion Area, which allows application for property tax abatement in a district recognized as blighted. It also is eligible to apply for brownfield tax credits.
The property was purchased by investors with Epoch Developments, a Denver-based company that also is working on projects in downtown Kansas City and the Crossroads Arts District.
Stockman said planners for the Gillham project have been met with representatives of three neighborhood associations in the vicinity to share their proposal.
The project is across Gillham from a group of bars and restaurants known as Martini Corner. The developers intend to extend the 31st Street streetscape eastward with a patio outside the planned restaurant.
Lane4 Property Group is marketing the Levy Building’s 5,000-square-foot restaurant space.