Development

Condos … and what else? Gateway block to downtown KC will change

The Calvert’s Express Auto Service site at 15th and Main streets, immediately south of Kansas City’s downtown loop, is on the market for $2.75 million.
The Calvert’s Express Auto Service site at 15th and Main streets, immediately south of Kansas City’s downtown loop, is on the market for $2.75 million. dstafford@kcstar.com

Two separate property owners, controlling two separate sections of a prominent gateway block to downtown Kansas City, will play a role in big changes for the 1500 block of Main Street.

Exactly how remains to be finalized.

With the new streetcar line and a slew of downtown and Crossroads redevelopment under way, property owners Gary Calvert and Major Baisden each see opportunity.

Calvert, owner and CEO of Calvert’s Express Auto Service at 1501 Main, put his property on the market for $2.75 million. It’s an asking price sparked by higher property values in a redevelopment-rich climate.

Next door to the longtime auto repair shop, Baisden, an entrepreneur and business consultant, has bought two small buildings at 1517 and 1519 Main. He plans to tear them down and build a nine-unit luxury condominium building.

Calvert said he wasn’t aware of Baisden’s purchases or plans.

Baisden said he didn’t have the interest or wherewithal to purchase Calvert’s part of the block and hadn’t spoken to Calvert.

Calvert said his property, on the market since May, doesn’t have a taker yet. But he’s confident there’s a better use for the site.

Baisden, who also owns the Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen at 1526 Walnut St. — just out the back door from his newly acquired Main street properties — said he spent six months negotiating to buy one of the small storefronts.

“I paid a hefty premium to relocate one of the businesses,” Baisden said. “It was more than I wanted to pay, so I haven’t gotten to the point yet where I know if I want to ask for tax incentives.”

However the dollars work out, Baisden said his vision calls for a new building that will have two levels devoted to parking and an entryway topped by four residential stories, each with two condominiums that run the length of the building, front to back. Above those, he plans a penthouse condo.

“There will private yards, and each floor will have a terrace,” Baisden said. “I want to bring suburban living to an urban site, with covered garages and privacy.”

He proposes eight three-bedroom units, each with about 3,700 square feet, and a 6,000-square-foot penthouse.

Recent housing developments in downtown, the Crossroads, the River Market and Quality Hill have been almost exclusively rentals, but Baisden said he believe the time is right for more ownership units.

“There are people who want a stake in living downtown,” he said.

Baisden said he’s not fazed by the fact that the future use of Calvert’s property is unknown.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford

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