Lenexa City Council approves a $64 million luxury apartment development

The Lenexa City Council has approved a $64 million luxury apartment project for its City Center mixed-use development that was turned down earlier by the planning commission.

The 306-unit first phase of what’s being called the Residences at City Center calls for four- and five-story buildings on a 28-acre site northeast of 87th Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard. The development is being built by Block Real Estate Services and is targeted for young professionals and empty-nesters.

In approving the rezoning and development plan, the council decided against the recommendation of its planning commission. The commission voted 5-3 to reject the proposal because of concerns about its density and effect on traffic. The plan calls for 11 buildings to go up on what is now pastureland.

Beccy Yocham, the city community development director, said the council thought the project fit well with the strategic plan for City Center. She added the city planning staff had recommended its approval. The second phase calls for an additional 246 units, bringing the total to 552.

“We feel this type of high-quality apartment project is exactly the type of project that will bring the type of people that will make City Center successful,” Yocham said Thursday.

Lenexa has been pursuing its City Center development for more than a decade. The 200-acre development site calls for a pedestrian-friendly complex with offices, retail space and residences. The city already has spent $55 million on roads and other infrastructure.

The City Center project made substantial progress last year when Perceptive Software decided to move its headquarters there from Shawnee. The $50 million headquarters development is being aided by $11 million in tax increment financing approved by Lenexa. Up to 1,000 employees are eventually expected to work there.

B.E. Smith, a health care executive recruitment firm, has leased space in a four-story existing office building at City Center, and the Grand Street Cafe recently announced it was opening on the first floor. A 20,000-square-foot office and retail building also is planned.

A major civic center also is planned for the City Center development that would include a recreation and fitness center as well as an auditorium.

The new apartment project planned by Block Real Estate includes covered parking, a center green space, outdoor fireplaces and elevator access. The first phase calls for 168 one-bedroom apartments and 138 two-bedroom units.