By Kevin Collison
The developer of the Wonder Shops + Flats project on Troost wants to continue investing in the area by building nine townhomes at 29th and Forest as affordable housing, but there’s one hitch.
While the vacant property where the Forest Townhomes project is planned is part of a longtime neighborhood in the heart of city, there are no public utility services.
“That entire block is not served by a city sewer or water,” said Caleb Buland of Exact Architects. “That’s a struggle for us.
“Water services has told us you’ll to have pay for it on your own.”
Around the corner at 30th and Troost, Buland and his partners successfully redeveloped the historic Wonder Bread bakery building into a mixed-use project that includes 87 apartments.
Buland also is pursuing a 26-unit apartment project at 27th and Troost.
The Forest Townhomes project would be his first venture into more family-style housing. The proposed two- and three-bedroom homes would range in size from 1,500- to 1,900 square feet, and rent for $1,695 to $1,995 per month.
The proposed rents of about $1.10 per square foot at Forest compare to the $1.50 per square foot average rent for all apartments in central Kansas City, 27 percent less, according to a recent report by Colliers International.
“They would be workforce homes to bring additional options for growing families in the neighborhood,” Buland said.
“At Wonder, we’re currently seeing a wait list for two bedrooms and additional growing families wanting to move to Troost.”
He said the proposed homes would be built of brick and stucco, include front porches and garage parking.
“The open, modern plans are created to live well for growing families and pet owners,” Buland said.
But before work can begin on the $2.5 million housing project, city tax incentives likely will be needed to build the sewer and water lines to serve the residents and keep the rent affordable.
If successful, Buland said more townhomes could be built after the initial project is completed.
“This is a great place to kickoff workforce housing,” he said.
Buland’s partners in the proposal are Eric Shafran of Chorus Fund and Ilan Salzberg, a Denver investor.
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