West Side apartment project receives approval

The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority approved an apartment and commercial complex at 17th and Madison.
The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority approved an apartment and commercial complex at 17th and Madison.

A plan by EPC Real Estate Group to build a $14 million, four-story apartment and commercial complex at 17th Street and Madison Avenue received approval Thursday from Kansas City’s Planned Industrial Expansion Authority.

The proposal, which includes the West Side’s first underground parking, will move forward aided by the authority’s finding that the existing property is blighted. EPC next will seek property tax abatement to assist in funding the project.

The expansion authority’s approval, on an 8-1 vote, came despite objections from a small group of neighbors who attended the meeting. They represented dozens more West Side residents and business owners who crowded a meeting Monday night at Los Alamos Market y Cocina at 17th and Summit Avenue.

People at the Monday night event expressed various concerns to EPC representatives, including doubts that the project would fit into the neighborhood and fears that it would bring too much noise and traffic and that its proposed 99-space underground garage wouldn’t do enough to ease existing parking problems in the neighborhood.

Project manager Austin Bradley told the neighbors the design team had worked to blend the traditional, contemporary and “everything in between” styles of the West Side. He also noted that excavating two underground levels of parking adds a major expense to the building, but it’s purposefully planned to ease the parking problems.

The project calls for 99 underground parking spaces, 39 surface lot spaces, 60 apartment units and about 12,000 square feet of commercial space, including a restaurant. Four town homes also are on the drawing board. The site now is dominated by a barrel-roofed vacant warehouse and includes vacant land.

EPC officers said the company would like to locate its own offices in the project, which it’s calling the Ware House.

The company is an experienced mixed-use developer in the Kansas City area. It recently completed a combination residential and commercial development at 51st and Main streets, just south of the Country Club Plaza, and another project at 106th Street and Mission Road in Leawood.

EPC intends to ask the expansion authority for 10 years of 100 percent property tax abatement on the value of the improvements, followed by five years of 50 percent abatement.

Neighbors at the Monday night meeting told EPC officials they didn’t want a chain restaurant on the site. They also looked at plans for a rooftop deck and said they worried about noise and smoking pollution. EPC president Michael McKeen said the company wanted to listen to concerns and be a good neighbor.

Exact financial details still are to be worked out, but it’s likely that the average rental unit will be 780 square feet and that monthly rental rates will range from $800 for the smallest 400-square-foot units to $2,200 for the largest 1,300-square-foot units. The four town homes are expected to be about 2,000 square feet.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford