The City Planning Commission recommended Tuesday approving a rezoning of about three acres located south of E. 51st Street between Brookside Boulevard and Oak Street to allow a multilevel structure containing a Whole Foods Grocery Store, retail sales, offices, residential uses and parking.
Whole Foods would be located on the ground floor and offices for the University of Missouri at Kansas City would be on the mezzanine level, according to the city staff report. Above would be six floors containing a total of 170 apartment units.
Although the city council will make the decision whether to approve the project, the case will next be heard before the City Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee. No date has been set as yet for the hearing.
The plans for the development will require changes in city land uses and rezoning for the property.
The project applicant, Dave Harrison, is asking the city to approve a land use change from Public/Semi Public to Mixed Use Community and from No Recommended Rezoning to Limited Redevelopment with Specific Guidelines, according to the city staff report.
Also requested is a change in zoning from District B 3-2 (Community business) to District Master Planned Development, as stated in the report.
The applicant is represented by his agent and developer Van Trust Real Estate LLC based in Kansas City.
Councilwoman Jan Marcason, who represents the 4th District, where the proposed development is located, said Monday she has been part of a discussion between the developer and neighborhood groups, who have been meeting for two years to iron out some issues related to the proposed plan.
The developer has “worked closely (with the group) to ensure that traffic would not be too much of a problem,” and to address concerns related to noise issues, walkability and the appearance of the building, Marcason said.
At the most recent meeting, residents expressed appreciation for the developer’s help addressing their various concerns and everybody seemed on board with the plan as it now looks, she said.
Tom McGee, vice president of Van Trust Real Estate LLC, said the project “benefitted greatly from the interaction with the neighborhood.”
McGee said he thinks the project was improved by the collaboration and he appreciates the support the neighborhood now has for the project.
The land is owned by the UMKC, the Kansas Area Transportation Authority, the Central United Methodist Church and the Kansas City Young Matrons.
Proposed is a special use permit to move the Young Matrons building to the southeast corner of E. 52nd and Cherry streets, the report states.
The city staff recommended the project with 18 conditions. Traffic considerations are a part of these, which include widening Brookside Boulevard, adding a southbound left-turn lane at the intersection of Brookside Boulevard and 51st Street to “create a smooth transition.”
Also recommended in the staff report is the widening of Brookside Boulevard to add a northbound left-turn lane at the intersection of Brookside Boulevard and 51st Street.
And, the city is proposing installation of and upgrading to the traffic signals at Brookside Boulevard and 51st Street to meet ADA requirements, according to the report.
To accommodate the uses in the building, the plan proposes a six-level parking garage. Together with surface parking, this would comprise a total of 445 spaces.
The Whole Foods Grocery Store would contain 45,000 square feet, according to the report. The building materials for the store as shown in the elevation views are cultured stone veneer, stucco, aluminum storefront system and generous glazing.
The building materials for the residential facades as listed in the report would be horizontal lap siding, stucco, cement board, wood rain screens, vinyl windows and balconies.
Whole Foods and UMKC did not returns calls for comment placed by The Kansas City Star.