The Kansas City Council on Thursday paved the way for part of a campus expansion plan by Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences that will involve razing five apartment buildings and relocating two houses.
Council members voted 12-1 to revoke historic designation from a total of six multifamily apartment buildings and three houses located on property owned by the medical school. Councilwoman Jolie Justus was the only no vote.
The council vote allows the school to proceed with a plan to provide parking on the east side of the campus to replace parking on the west side that will be displaced when it begins construction of a $30 million Center for Medical and Surgical Simulation.
The plan was opposed by Historic Kansas City members, particularly in regard to demolition of the 1916-era Colonial Court apartment complex. But members of the City Plan Commission on Tuesday and the council’s Planning, Zoning & Economic Development Committee on Wednesday endorsed the “higher use” for the properties of school expansion.
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Eric Bellamaganya, vice president of the Pendleton Heights Neighborhood Association, said the decision to raze the vacant Colonial Court apartments was a good solution to a problem property.
The association is working with the school on an agreement to reuse the remaining apartment building, perhaps for nonprofit use. The neighborhood also will work to find financing to relocate two of the houses to a nearby location.
Bellamaganya said property values are increasing in the neighborhood, and he thought there would be buyers willing to shoulder the moving costs, estimated at about $40,000 to $50,000 each.