The Marlborough Elementary building, closed since 2007, now has its clearest path in years to be resurrected as housing in south Kansas City.
The property at 1300 E. 75th St., one of dozens included in a Kansas City Public Schools repurposing program for closed buildings, is under contract to be sold to Exact Partners LLC.
Plans call for the 44,400-square-foot building to be converted to about 40 one- and two-bedroom market-rate apartments, with some community space likely to be provided on the ground floor, said Caleb Buland, an architect with Exact Partners.
In addition, the redevelopers intend to take advantage of the 3.7-acre site to build new living units in a second construction phase.
Buland, who also is an architect for Foutch Brothers, described plans for “small, midtown homes, sort of a brownstone neighborhood feel, attractive to seniors or empty nesters.”
Previous redevelopment proposals for the heavily vandalized school building have failed to obtain the necessary financing, but Buland said he was approached by agents for the school district who thought the renovation would be a good fit for his partnership.
Buland said he’s confident about Exact Partners’ ability to see the project through. The development team already is working to convert commercial properties at 30th and Troost and at 3200 Gillham Road to residences with commercial components.
First, though, they’ve hired Elizabeth Rosin, with Rosin Preservation, to pursue an application to get the school building, which was built in 1927, on the National Register of Historic Places. Historic tax credits would be a part of the financing package. It could take four to six months for that to happen, he suggested.
Buland said the development partners will bring private equity and bank loans to the project. They also will seek a 10-year property tax abatement on the added value, probably through the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority. Buland said they’ve preliminarily agreed to provide $10,000 a year in payments in lieu of taxes during the abatement period.
For now, “We want a security camera system to mitigate further vandalism and graffiti,” Buland said. “And we want to work with the neighborhood, the district and the city to start fixing the sidewalks, curbs and streets. It’s very dilapidated now.”
After the Marlborough sale closes, Buland said Exact Partners wants to help the neighborhood fix up some of the nearby houses that are in the greatest need of restoration.
“We pick projects that are well-positioned to make a neighborhood difference,” Buland said.