More than 26,000 people now call downtown Kansas City home — more than six times the city center’s 2002 population of 4,000, according to the Downtown Council.
As demand for apartments rises, so does rent. Developers say the average downtown rent has jumped 50 percent to 75 percent since 2010.
Curious to know what money can rent you in the downtown loop?
Here’s a breakdown of four apartments, from a $995 studio in a historic building to a $2,800 two-bedroom in a Power & Light District high rise.
$995 per month
Downtown bargain hunters looking to spend less than $1,000 per month should consider embracing the tiny home trend with a studio apartment that combines living, sleeping and eating areas in one open space.
The New England, 112 W. 9th St., has a 495-square-foot studio that rents for $995 per month. Modern updates include a tiled shower, granite countertops and slate appliances in the kitchen, and a Nest thermostat that allows tenants to control the temperature via smartphone.
The Renaissance Revival building constructed in 1887 should appeal to apartment hunters who value historic character. The New England’s units boast original oak woodwork, cast iron fireplaces and walk-in closets located inside bank vaults. The seven-story building’s ornate exterior is made of rose-colored sandstone from Massachusetts.
“The primary draw for us was the architectural style,” says developer John Bennett, Jr. “It’s one of the only brownstones left in Kansas City.”
Building amenities include a fitness center, Google Fiber access and an attached heated and secured parking garage. Parking costs $100 per car, per month.
For around $200 more, you can get an updated one-bedroom apartment in the nearby Quality Hill Apartments. The units, located in 16 buildings in the Quality Hill neighborhood, come with a washing machine, dryer and one parking spot. Residents also get discounted rates at the neighboring Quality Hill YMCA, 1051 Washington St.
$1,495 per month
Homebodies who want to live in the city center should check out Commerce Tower Apartments, 911 Main St., a 23-story office building that’s been transformed into a “vertical neighborhood” complete with a restaurant, pharmacy, fitness center, indoor dog park, co-working space and day care center. There’s also a rooftop pool deck, basketball court, playground, movie theater and dedicated streetcar stop.
Commerce Tower features 342 apartments in a variety of floor plans, from compact studios to roomy penthouses with views of the Missouri River — but only 12 are available. For $1,495, you can get a 945-square-feet one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. The unit features hardwood floors, a walk-in closet and an open kitchen with stainless steel appliances and quartz countertops.
Smaller one-bedroom apartments (as in 693 square feet) start at $1,195 per month. One parking space is included in the rent; additional spaces cost $100 per month.
Looking for a spot in a smaller building? Opera House Lofts, 930 Broadway, is a four-story building with 44 units. A one-bedroom with a study costs $1,350 per month — that price includes water, sewer, trash, Google Fiber and access to a gym on the first floor.
Brick walls, big windows and exposed duct work add to the industrial downtown vibe. Parking costs $95 per month, per car.
$1,800 per month
It’s all about the suite life at East 9 at Pickwick Plaza, 933 McGee St.
The renovated apartment building, which opened in late 2016, is located in a former hotel that was built in 1930. Amenities are designed to reflect “the hotel experience” — tenants get access to a heated indoor salt water pool and City Gym, an 11,000-square-foot fitness center with a spinning studio.
A 912-square-foot unit with two bedrooms and one bathroom starts at $1,800, but smaller 609-square-foot two-bedroom units cost around $1,220 per month. All apartments feature open floor plans, granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and carpeted bedrooms. Some come with balconies, washing machines and dryers.
Residents can also pay additional fees for “concierge” services such as housekeeping, dry cleaning and dog walking. Garage parking costs between $35 for motorcycles and $85 for full-size cars.
Todd Beers, who rents a studio on East 9 at Pickwick Plaza’s north side, says he loves hanging out in The Truman Living Room, a shared lounge with a full kitchen, bar, TVs and couches.
“And the location couldn’t be more perfect,” says Beers, an empty-nester who previously lived in Shawnee and Leawood. “It’s equidistant between the Power & Light District and the City Market, and another five minutes down is the Crossroads.”
$2,800 per month
In 2015, The Cordish Companies unveiled a glass high rise in the heart of the Power & Light District.
Units at One Light Luxury Apartments, 50 E. 13th St., boast nine-foot ceilings, huge windows with skyline views, open layouts and high-end finishes such as quartz countertops in the kitchen.
Residents get gym memberships to OneLife Fitness KC and access to a rooftop pool complete with patio, bar and grilling station. The building is 100 percent occupied, and its owner The Cordish Companies is building a second high rise called Two Light a few blocks south. The $105 million tower is now leasing and scheduled to open next year.
A two-bedroom, two-bathroom penthouse costs around $2,800 per month.
Farzad and Lisa Alemi, who have called One Light home since 2015, say it’s worth it to live within walking distance to restaurants, the grocery store, the gym, the streetcar and live events.
“I use our car maybe two times a week,” says Lisa, a physical therapist.
The couple values convenience more than ever now that they’re parents to a 4-month-old son, Nima.
“For half a second, we considered moving to the suburbs,” says Farzad, noting that the family could get a larger home if they were willing to commute.
“But what would we do with all that space?”