Groundbreaking set for big apartment project south of Crown Center

An architectural rendering of the Gallerie apartment project planned for south of Crown Center at 27th Terrace and McGee Trafficway.
An architectural rendering of the Gallerie apartment project planned for south of Crown Center at 27th Terrace and McGee Trafficway.

Work will begin April 10 on a 361-unit apartment project, Gallerie, that will rise from a surface parking lot immediately south of the Hallmark Cards headquarters at Crown Center.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for the $68 million first phase of a two-phase project led by Milhaus, an Indianapolis developer that led the purchase of an 18.4-acre site from Hallmark.

Work will begin on the eastern part of the property at 27th Street and Gillham Road. The $12 million to $14 million second phase — for condominiums and townhomes at 27th and McGee Trafficway — is expected to begin in about six months.

“We want to deliver both phases at approximately the same time,” said Jeremy Stephenson, president of development at Milhaus. “We want everything to come on line in the fall of 2018.”

The development initially was targeted to break ground in late 2016 but had to wait to firm up financing and city permitting details, Stephenson said.

Stephenson said the company continues to evaluate rental rates in the neighborhood but generally aims to offer units for between $1,000 and $2,000 a month. The apartments will range from 400-square-foot “micros” to three-bedroom units.

The developer isn’t ready yet to suggest a price range for the proposed 53 condominium units and 14 townhomes.

The fact that the overall project includes homes that people will buy instead of rent — and pay property taxes on — was important to help reach an incentives agreement with the taxing jurisdictions such as the county, library and school district.

Milhaus last year obtained a 25-year, 60 percent property tax abatement on the rental properties, not on the for-sale residential units. The developer also agreed to payments in lieu of taxes, with the first year payment of $447,457.

The agreement dodged a threatened public referendum on the project sought by a group of petitioners against tax abatements.

Gallerie will include a range of tenant amenities including a dog park, an outdoor pool, a pocket park, a fitness center and a “makerspace,” an indoor/outdoor area where tenants can work on arts and crafts projects and hobbies.

“We think of Hallmark next door as a creative space, and we want to capitalize on that,” Stephenson said.

The complex will include a parking garage accessible from 27th Street. Because of the sloping terrain, Stephenson said, the garage won’t be a visual barrier on Gillham, and no living units will sit atop the garage.

When the apartments open, Stephenson said they plan to offer three retail spaces along McGee, and they’re researching what residents of the Longfellow and Union Hill neighborhoods would like to see in those locations.

Milhaus is Gallerie’s general contractor. HOK is the design architect, with Dwell Design Studio of Atlanta the architect of record for the apartments and Draw Architecture for the townhomes.

UC-B Properties, a Kansas City-based developer, assisted Milhaus in obtaining the property and project approvals and is continuing to be a Milhaus partner in other Kansas City projects, including a development at 27th and Troost Avenue.

Milhaus, which has specialized in urban development since 1998, has projects in Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Oklahoma City and other cities.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford