Copaken Brooks and EPC Real Estate Group said Monday that they expect to begin construction this fall on the first-ever high-rise built-from-scratch apartment building in the Crossroads District.
A 12-story, 125-unit tower, named ARTerra, is planned for 21st and Wyandotte streets.
The project is slated to include a three-story parking garage and 2,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor. Plans call a few walk-out, ground-level apartments facing 21st Street as well as nine floors of market-rate apartments atop the garage on what is now a mostly gravel parking lot.
With a nod to the arts district ambience, the ARTerra is being designed to include a fifth-floor, open-air “amenity area” featuring a custom art installation on the pool deck, planners said.
The property is adjacent to the Freight House and restaurants such as Lidia’s and Jack Stack.
“This is the heart of the Crossroads,” said Mike McKeen, principal at EPC Real Estate. “It’s a half-acre site that’s walkable to dozens of restaurants and galleries and just a block off the streetcar line.”
Jon Copaken, principal at Copaken Brooks, said the apartment tower reflects his company’s continued investments in downtown’s changing market trends, some of which are tied to the developing streetcar line.
Copaken had first proposed a “boutique condominium” on the vacant land at 21st and Wyandotte in 2008. The collapsed real estate economy squashed those earlier plans for a 50-unit development under the ARTerra name.
Back in 2008, the proposed seven-story condominium was projected to be the first new downtown-area housing construction since 2006, when a 47-unit Bridgeworks project opened in the River Market. Now, new apartment construction and apartment conversions in old commercial buildings are booming in and around downtown Kansas City.
“There is real pent-up demand for apartments,” McKeen said. “There are 20,000 people working downtown and only 2,500 market-rate apartments as of now.”
The Cordish Company, developer of the Power & Light District, last week announced plans for Two Light, a 24-story apartment tower and parking garage on Truman Road between Grand Avenue and Walnut Street. Cordish already has One Light, a 25-story apartment tower and garage under construction at 13th and Walnut streets. Both are receiving city tax abatements for the towers and additional subsidies for garage construction.
Those new-construction projects inside the downtown loop add to other new apartments being built in the River Market area north of the central business core, on Quality Hill to the west, and on Union Hill to the south of Crown Center.
The frenetic housing activity also is fueled by rehabilitation of multiple old commercial buildings throughout the downtown area. Those projects, such as a conversion under way of the former Folgers coffee plant at 7th Street and Broadway, are being aided by historic preservation tax credits and tax abatements.
The ARTerra tower announced Monday has received a 10-year tax abatement from the city’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority. It will pay only the property taxes assessed on the undeveloped property for that period, a smaller incentive package than the 25-year abatement plans that many developers have received for their apartment constructions or conversions.
Haren Laughlin Construction Co. is the general contractor on ARTerra. SCB Architects of Chicago are the architects.
Aaron Schlagel, Copaken’s vice president of development, said construction is expected to start in late summer or early fall and take12 to 16 months to complete.
McKeen said the apartments, ranging in size from studios to two-bedroom units with dens that could be used as a third bedroom, are likely to range from $1,000 to $2,000 a month in rent, subject to change in market conditions by late 2016.
Meanwhile, the Copaken firm is leading renovation of the Corrigan Station high-rise building at 19th and Main streets into a mixed-use office development.
Initially, the company had announced that the Corrigan building would be converted to apartments but later said the office market had changed enough that office space was needed instead. That conversion is expected to be finished in the fall of 2016.