After decades of residents fleeing downtown and its surrounding neighborhoods, the past 10 years have witnessed a reversal in that trend with more and more people choosing to live near the revitalized business, financial and entertainment areas creating a thriving downtown Kansas City.
The only thing hampering this flood of residents into the urban core has been the lack of housing choices. John Hoffman, one of the founding partners along with Lance Carlton of UC-B Properties, is adding to those choices, providing new opportunities for those who want to be part of the urban living experience.
“More than 19,000 people now live in the downtown area, more than double the residents from a decade ago and we expect that number to double again in the next decade,” Hoffman said. “Up until now those residents have had three housing choices, all with limitations.
“They could purchase a new condo, but it has been increasingly difficult to get financing to buy a condo and they come with special fees and homeowners association dues,” he explained. “They could buy an old home in an old neighborhood, but old homes have old plumbing, electrical and heating systems that are in need of repair and other problems. They could rent an apartment, which is a good option if you are young and don’t have the money to purchase a home, but you aren’t building equity with an apartment.”
So Hoffman and his company have created a fourth option. UC-B Properties is building new homes in old neighborhoods such as Beacon Hill and Longfellow. These Midtown neighborhoods are near Hospital Hill and Crown Center, and just minutes from such popular destinations as the Crossroad Arts District, the Power & Light District and Westport. Nearby highway access allows residents to quickly reach other parts of the Kansas City area.
“These are single-family homes in older neighborhoods with mature trees and green space, but new homes that don’t have the problems inherent with old homes in these same neighborhoods,” Hoffman explained.
This is an opportunity to experience the same benefits of a new home found in the suburbs miles from downtown but with all the advantages of urban living.
“Living near downtown is much different than living in the suburbs,” Hoffman said. “You are near all sorts of entertainment and locally owned restaurants, each with specialized menus offering fresh, locally grown food. You can walk or ride a bike to work, to eat, to concerts. You save on gas and wear and tear on your car. It is a wonderful way to live.”
When UC-B Properties began building these homes, the goal was to create interesting architecture and homes designed to comfortably fit on the smaller home sites found in these neighborhoods. They range in size from 1,200 to 1,800 square feet and offer three bedrooms and attached two-car garages. Prices range from the $200,000s to around $400,000.
“We wanted to design and build homes that appeal to single people, young couples just starting out and empty-nesters who want to live near their work and all the entertainment and restaurants available downtown,” Hoffman said.
He added that one of the best benefits of these homes is that they are property tax abated for 10 years, an incentive offered by the city to encourage people to move back into the area.
This formula is one that has worked for UC-B Properties, which has sold six homes in the two years since it began this project.
Right now, two more homes are under construction on Charlotte Street that will be completed by April. Each has 1,400 square feet of living space with three bedrooms, three bathrooms and an attached two-car garage. They are listed at $265,000.
Four more larger homes are planned in Beacon Hill that should be available in the next six months. They will have 1,800 to 2,200 square feet and be priced from $325,000 to $375,000.
For those who want to live in these neighborhoods but who aren’t ready to purchase a home, UC-B Properties has two modern apartment complexes under construction, Twenty9 Gillham and Gillham Park Row.
UC-B Properties has a 12-year history of providing urban living opportunities. Past projects include 40 Penn Row, Summit at 16th, East Market Row, 30 Gillham Row, Battery Lofts, Triangle Townhomes and Cherry Hill Row.
For information about its new single-family homes, call John Hoffman at 816-535-1065 Lance Carlton at 816-379-6687 or visit its website at uc-bproperties.com.
Location: 2949 McGee Trafficway.
Contact: John Hoffman, 816-535-1065 or Lance Carlton at 816-379-6687.