Development

Apartments to replace office building damaged by the 2013 JJ’s restaurant explosion

Aerial view of the damage caused by the 2013 fire at JJ’s restaurant on the Country Club Plaza. The building directly behind JJ’s to the left will come down and become apartments if plans are approved.
Aerial view of the damage caused by the 2013 fire at JJ’s restaurant on the Country Club Plaza. The building directly behind JJ’s to the left will come down and become apartments if plans are approved. Star file photo

A 2013 explosion that destroyed the former location of JJ’s restaurant, a popular hangout near the Country Club Plaza, also badly damaged an office building directly behind it.

The office building at 4739 Belleview Ave., which used to be occupied by tenants including advertising firm Muller Bressler Brown, was never put back to use.

And now it probably never will. Instead, developers have plans to take that office building down and replace it with a six-story, 167-unit apartment project.

Steve Rothstein, who is part of an ownership group that has property holdings on the block of Belleview between 47th and 48th streets, submitted plans for the project at 4711 Belleview to City Hall on March 15.

KC Commercial Realty Group is developing the property.

David Bayer, principal with KC Commercial Realty Group, didn’t disclose an overall value for the project, saying it was still in the planning stages.

“I would call it luxury apartments,” Bayer said. “We’re going to have a lot of the premium amenities.”

Bayer said the project is not seeking any development incentives or property tax abatements.

The building would include 18 studio apartments, 86 one-bedroom units and 63 two-bedroom dwellings, according to architectural drawings.

The developer plans to begin construction in September with an estimated completion date of December 2018.

The apartment building will cover about a quarter of the block between Belleview Avenue and Roanoke Parkway and 47th and 48th streets. It will not cover the ground once occupied by the former JJ’s location. A new JJ’s location operates out of the Plaza Vista office building, just south of the former location.

A surveillance video shows the explosion at JJ's restaurant shortly before 6 p.m. on Feb. 19, 2013. Footage courtesy of Shelton Travel Service.

JJ’s exploded because of a ruptured gas line on the afternoon of Feb. 19, 2013, killing one restaurant employee. A Jackson County jury later found Time Warner Cable was primarily at fault for the explosion; the cable company was laying conduit in the vicinity of the former JJ’s location.

Steve Vockrodt: 816-234-4277, @st_vockrodt

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