A divided Kansas City Council on Thursday rejected two controversial Country Club Plaza developments over concerns about density, building heights and conflicts with the Plaza area plan.
The council voted 5-7 against Block Real Estate’s proposed $38 million, 188-unit apartment complex at 44th and Washington streets, and against NorthPoint Development’s $30 million plan to convert a former medical office building at 4620 J.C. Nichols Parkway to an 84-unit assisted-living facility.
Fourth District at-large Councilwoman Katheryn Shields, who lives just east of the Plaza, led the opposition, arguing that both projects conflicted with a recently adopted Midtown/Plaza Area Plan that serves as a guide to future development. She argued that the apartment complex was “four times the density that is allowed by the Plaza plan” and said the assisted-living facility was several stories taller than the maximum building height allowed in the plan.
Council members Heather Hall, Teresa Loar, Dan Fowler, Jolie Justus, Alissia Canady and Mayor Sly James voted against the projects.
Council members Scott Wagner, Quinton Lucas, Jermaine Reed, Scott Taylor and Kevin McManus voted in favor of them. They praised both developers and said the apartment complex would provide much needed workforce housing, while the upscale senior living facility would meet a growing need in Kansas City.
The developers had argued they needed the proposed level of density to make the projects work financially.
In a third vote, the council unanimously approved a development plan for The Artisan apartments by Pulse Development on land purchased from the Community Christian Church.
While not all Plaza areas residents were satisfied, the council was impressed that the developer and architect had worked hard to alleviate neighborhood concerns about parking and construction phasing. Pulse Development plans a $20 million, 131-unit apartment at 46th and Walnut streets.