The first tenants are scheduled to move in August into the 137-unit RMWest Apartments, a new-construction project in the River Market north of downtown.
The two five-story apartment buildings at 228 W. Fourth St. will share a parking garage with the office building next door. But it isn’t the parking space getting attention from potential residents.
“We’re getting interest because of the streetcar line that’s going in just a block and a half from here,” said George Birt, a veteran developer in the neighborhood just east of the Broadway Bridge. “The people who are looking like the feel of a walkable neighborhood.”
The apartments also are attracting people who want new, suburban-style amenities rather than adaptive reuse of historic properties, said Tiana Heath, property manager with Irongate Management.
Heath said a pet-friendly policy also is a drawing card. The apartments will allow pets up to 75 pounds on the second through fifth floors and will have no size limit for pets on the ground floor.
The apartments got a $2 million loan from the Kansas City Council in 2013 through a direct housing assistance program associated with the streetcar development.
Finishing work is further along on the north building, which shares a pool and patio deck with the south building. The complex also will have a public “living room,” kitchen and game room with wireless and high-speed Internet access.
Birt said rents for the 114 one-bedroom units range from $1,250 to $1,350 a month and rents for the 23 two-bedroom units range from $1,750 to $1,850, with prices varying based on location in the complex.
RMWest is across the street from the Market Station apartments, the pioneer in new residential construction in the neighborhood. Birt said he is encouraged that occupancy has remained high at Market Station and believes there is strong demand for more new-construction apartments.
His company in 1999 renovated the historic Richards & Conover building, south of the new apartments, as condominium properties. Conover Place, another nearby condo property, followed in 2001. Both have been successful, Birt said.
“But the recession stopped the condo market,” Birt said. “We went back to apartments, which were our expertise anyway.”
He said that upon completion of the entire RMWest development, “we will have created 297 luxury apartments representing over $60 million in investment within two blocks of the soon-to-be-completed streetcar line.”
Apartment rentals also fit better than condo ownership for most of the young adults who have been touring the River Market properties, Heath said.