Hufft Projects a year and a half ago moved its design studio into a vacant 60,000-square-foot industrial property across the street from Roanoke Park.
Now Jesse and Matthew Hufft are finishing out the building — to the tune of a $3.2 million investment so far — to include a residential side.
Construction is underway on the Studio Lofts, 14 apartment units on the east side of the renovated building on Karnes Boulevard.
“It will sparkle then,” said co-owner Jesse Hufft. “We’d always intended to develop the rest of the space, but we didn’t know what until about six months ago when we decided to create apartments.”
The property once was the Wolferman’s Grocery plant and warehouse. Later it became a printing company. Then for about eight years it stood empty.
The Huffts, who live nearby in the Coleman Highlands neighborhood, bought and revamped part of the space about a year and a half ago under The Grocer’s Warehouse name.
Hufft Projects, an architecture and design firm that employs 54 people, fills most of the one-story industrial space with its design, wood, metal and photo studios, paint shop, meeting rooms and special events space.
Beginning this fall, the Huffts expect tenants to be able to move into the two-story space that looks directly out on the tree-lined edge of Roanoke Park.
Twelve of the units will be one-bedroom plans with all the amenities currently associated with nicely finished apartments — granite counters, in-unit washers and dryers, on-site storage, package acceptance, dry cleaning dropoff and housekeeping options.
In an unusual twist, the remaining two corner units, both studios, will be put on Airbnb and available for brief stays by the public or family members of tenants or staff who are visiting.
Another unusual feature in the renovation will be the building’s old ceiling-high boiler, which will stay as a design feature in a “living room” gathering space for tenants, fittingly labeled as “the boiler room.”
The apartments, ranging from 700 to 950 square feet, are just getting to the drywall stage, but Jesse Hufft said they expect to begin pre-leasing in August. They haven’t settled on rent rates yet because they’re still analyzing their costs and market rates.
Matt Hufft said the couple was attracted to the vibrancy and growth of the west Kansas City neighborhood. He called the residential plan a “simple yet urbane approach to modern living.”
In addition to Hufft Projects, the industrial side of the building houses Real Fitness and Conditioning and the Roanoke Park Conservancy.