Additional Apartments, New Park, in Works for West Bottoms

Flaherty & Collins expects to break ground on the 224-unit second phase of The Yards development in Kansas near the Kaw River in early 2022. (Rendering by KEM STUDIO)

By Kevin Collison

The second phase of The Yards apartment development is expected to break ground early next year in the West Bottoms and will be joined by a nearby public investment in a new park and trail along the Kaw River.

Flaherty & Collins plans to build a 224-unit apartment project on the east side of the river, which because of the area’s unique geography, is on the Kansas side of the West Bottoms.

Its first phase of The Yards is located between the Livestock Exchange Building and Hy-Vee Arena on Genessee Street in Missouri.

Ryan Cronk, vice president on Indianapolis-based Flaherty & Collins, says his firm was pleased with the leasing progress at the original Yards which opened in May 2020, and looking forward to breaking ground on the $47 million second phase.

The $47 million second phase of The Yards is expected to be completed in late 2023. (Rendering by KEM STUDIO)

Flaherty’s decision to build a 232-unit apartment project in the West Bottoms in early 2018 was a calculated risk at the time because the area, while popular with artists, antique dealers and haunted house fans, was not considered an appealing place to live.

“Phase one has been great,” Cronk said. “We opened during Covid and it was stabilized within 13 months.

“We’re thrilled it met our goals. The residents are happy and we’re getting a lot of referrals. We were hoping phase one would do great so we could continue to build.”

In fact, Cronk said Flaherty & Collins also plans to eventually build a 200-unit third phase, also on the Kansas side, at some point.

He added however, that phase two and an eventual phase three will be separate from the first project.

The site planned for the second phase of The Yards project, the Kaw River levee road is in foreground, the city-owned West Bottoms Garage is in background.

“This will truly be an independent, free-standing project with its own leasing office and amenities,” he said.

Adding to the adjoining riverfront environment is the Unified Government of Wyandotte County’s plans to develop a levee trail system and a small park near The Yards second phase.

The project also is close to the proposed redevelopment of the old Rock Island Bridge into a trail crossing and entertainment destination.

Katherine Carttar, UG director of economic development, said an approximately 20-mile trail system is planned along the Missouri and Kaw River levees.

It’s a local contribution to what is expected to be a $500 million levee improvement project by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The first phase of The Yards began accepting residents in May 2020.

“We figured if the (Army Corps) is spending a half-billion on this, let’s see what we can get out of it,” she said. “We have a rare opportunity where we have a greenfield in the oldest neighborhood in the city.

“Between the (Rock Island) bridge and the apartments there’s a skinny piece of land that’s too small to build anything substantial but perfect size for a park.”

The planned park would improve access to the Kaw and will include improvements such as bringing power to the site that will allow more events and other activities to occur there. Work is expected to begin next month, Carttar said.

As for the second phase of The Yards, Cronk said construction should begin by late winter and completion expected by the end of 2023 or early 2024.

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