New apartments planned for Old Hyde Park

01/14/2014 12:00 AM

01/14/2014 9:28 PM

Local developer John Hoffman is planning a $3 million apartment building at 37th Street and Gillham Road in Kansas City that is intended to offer a contemporary alternative to the historic rehab projects nearby on Armour Boulevard.

The 23-unit Gillham Park Row is planned for a site across from Hyde Park once occupied by the Outrigger apartments, a bland building dating from the 1960s that was demolished in 2011. Hoffman said the project would be the first new development in the Old Hyde Park neighborhood in 30 years.

“The major thrust is to give renters an alternative a smaller building with modern, clean, loftlike space,” Hoffman said.

The project is close to Armour, where about two dozen historic apartment-hotel buildings have been converted to market-rate apartments. Because of preservation standards, those buildings do not have the balconies and other amenities a new-built structure allows.

Hoffman, who is developing the project with Lance Carlton, hired Draw Architecture + Urban Design of Kansas City to design a three-story building that was intended to complement the nearby historic apartments and homes and to offer views of the park. Many units also would have balconies or patios.

The redevelopment plan also calls for restoring an adjoining home at 3614 Gillham Road that dates to 1897.

Although Hoffman has the support of several neighboring property owners, the Gillham Park Row design is opposed by the Old Hyde Park Historic District board.

Martin Phillips, president of the district, said his board wanted the new building to more closely resemble its early 20th-century neighboring structures.

“It’s a nice design for maybe the suburbs,” he said, “but we wanted them to use more design features of the early 1900s. We feel in a historic neighborhood, we need to keep that look.”

Hoffman said his architect responded to requests from the neighborhood to incorporate more brick and other modifications to respect the context of the historic area.

“I’m a former head of the Historic Kansas City Foundation, and I support historic preservation,” Hoffman said, “but we’re dealing with an empty lot.”

The site of the Gillham Park Row development has been designated as blighted, and the developer is seeking a 10-year, 100 percent property tax abatement.

The 23 two-bedroom apartments would average 900 square feet and monthly rents around $1,050. The development would include 36 spaces of secured parking.

If Hoffman and Carlton receive the necessary city approvals, construction would start in April with completion in early 2015.

“We’re thrilled something new and nice will go there,” said Kansas City Councilwoman Jan Marcason, whose district includes the area. “We’re looking for infill development.”

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