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Kansas City is in talks with Cordish about a second downtown apartment tower

Cordish, the Baltimore-based company that developed and manages downtown’s Power & Light District, began construction last year on One Light, a 25-story apartment tower at 13th and Walnut streets.
Cordish, the Baltimore-based company that developed and manages downtown’s Power & Light District, began construction last year on One Light, a 25-story apartment tower at 13th and Walnut streets. The Kansas City Star

Plans are apparently moving forward to add another new apartment tower to the downtown Kansas City skyline.

Officials with the city and Cordish Co., developer of the Power & Light District, confirmed Wednesday they are talking about plans for a second apartment high-rise to pair with the One Light residential tower under construction at 13th and Walnut streets.

One Light, expected to be completed this fall, is the first new residential tower built downtown since the 32-story San Francisco building opened in Crown Center in 1976.

The new tower, to be called Two Light, would be built on Truman Road between Walnut Street and Grand Boulevard on a site that is now a parking lot with 83 spaces.

“I can confirm that we are in discussions with the city, but we haven’t formalized anything beyond that,” said Nick Benjamin, Cordish’s executive director of the Power & Light District.

The One Light tower will be 25 stories tall with 315 units. Benjamin did not disclose any details about the height of the Two Light tower but said Cordish “hopes to start construction by the end of the year.”

City Manager Troy Schulte also confirmed the talks with Cordish and told a downtown luncheon Wednesday that he hopes a formal announcement will be possible soon. Schulte said the project would require incentives, but he did not elaborate.

Cordish is getting an effective 25-year, 50 percent property tax abatement on the $79.2 million One Light project. City officials have said the high-end apartments would help spur other downtown development and boost downtown rents.

One Light is expected to be ready for occupancy in late October or November. Its original design called for 10 larger penthouse apartments, consisting of one- and two-bedroom units, on the top floor. But last September, Cordish cited demand for the units and designated a second penthouse floor.

The tower will offer a mix of units that range from 593-square-foot studios to 1,395-square-foot apartments. Rents will range from $900 to $3,400 per month.

Cordish officials said they have taken deposits on 25 percent of the units and have 1,000 people on a waiting list.

The second tower is a possibility, Schulte said, because demand has been strong for One Light.

Baltimore-based Cordish has long envisioned building four luxury apartment towers on Truman Road between Grand Boulevard and Baltimore Avenue. The towers would complement the nearby Power & Light District, which would benefit from the increase in downtown’s residential population.

Downtown Kansas City has undergone a development renaissance in recent years, and building another apartment tower would add to the momentum. In particular, city officials have tried to encourage more residential development downtown.

Notably, construction began late last year to turn the historic Kansas City Power & Light Co. skyscraper into apartments. The $64 million project by NorthPoint Development Co. calls for transforming the building at 14th Street and Baltimore Avenue into 217 apartments. The project also calls for constructing an adjacent building that will include a parking garage, retail and 58 more apartments.

The renovation is expected to be completed by the end of this year. Construction of the adjacent building is to be finished in the first part of 2016.

Other apartment projects are in various stages of development along the new 2.2-mile downtown streetcar line under construction on Main Street.

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com.

To reach Lynn Horsley, call 816-226-2058 or send email to lhorsley@kcstar.com.

To reach Steve Rosen, call 816-234-4879 or send email to srosen@kcstar.com.

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