A stretch of Kansas City’s 63rd Street between Oak Street and Troost Avenue has received Planned Industrial Expansion Authority approval as a blighted district, paving the way for tax abatements if property owners tackle independent improvement projects.
An analysis of property conditions along the commercial strip found that three-fourths of the 28 properties along the stretch showed a “predominance of blight,” including deterioration of buildings, parking areas and sidewalks, and unsanitary or unsafe conditions.
Creation of an improvement district, which requires approval by the Kansas City Planning and Zoning Committee and the City Council, will allow individual property owners to seek property tax abatements when they pursue improvements.
The request for the district was led by developer Butch Rigby, who with partner Byron Pendleton owns four properties along the street.
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“Our aim is to eliminate vacancies and blight and make it possible for each owner to make improvements that will make the whole area more viable,” Rigby said.
Rigby and his team intend to make streetscape improvements along with renovating their commercial properties. Rigby said they aim to improve the area’s office space to bring rents up to the $16-per-square-foot range instead of the $10- or $11-per-square-foot they are now.
Rigby said he intends to make the area attractive and affordable for small businesses and to be particular about the kinds of tenants he accepts. The overall goal, he said, is to create a thriving business corridor between Brookside and Troost.
The street also is getting stepped-up residential attention. Co-developers John Hoffman and Lance Carlton have announced a $3 million market-rate apartment building at 63rd and Holmes streets, the first new apartment building in the area in more than 40 years.
Patricia Stewart, a veterinarian who owns a clinic at 63rd and Rockhill Road, told the expansion authority board that the district designation would be a good incentive to encourage other landlords to pursue property upkeep, renovations and new development.