Apartment Project with Affordable Units Proposed for Riverfront

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The Columbus Park Lofts project developed by Prairie Fire include affordable units.

By Kevin Collison

Prairie Fire Development is proposing a $15 million apartment project with up to 75 units, more than half reserved as affordable, on a small site near Berkley Riverfront Park.

The developer is seeking affordable housing tax credits from the Missouri Housing Development Commission and tax incentives from Port KC, and if successful, would begin construction next summer and be completed by Fall 2021.

Kelley Hrabe, founder and co-owner of Prairie Fire, said the proposed riverfront project would resemble the successful mixed-housing housing he’s done in the Columbus Park neighborhood.

“We did CP Lofts in Columbus Park and they’re 100 percent occupied with a waiting list that’s a mile long.

“With all the development now on the riverfront, what’s proposed and coming, we thought now would be a great time to expand.”

The developer has reached a preliminary agreement with Port KC for a site the agency controls just southeast of The Union Berkley Riverfront apartment project completed last year.

“It’s fundamentally important as we develop downtown and particularly the riverfront that we look at providing quality workforce housing in the mix,” said Jon Stephens, Port KC executive director.

“I see this as the start of more to come, a mix of market-rate and workforce housing that’s part of the positive trajectory of downtown.”

The site of the proposed Prairie Fire affordable housing development is just southeast of the Union at Berkley Riverfront apartment development on Parcel 10. (Map from Port KC)

Hrabe said the project plan is being finalized, but he envisioned it as a three- or four-story building with between 60- and 75 one and two-bedroom units. About 60 percent would be reserved as affordable, the remainder market-rate.

“We want to do something creative so the building looks good,” he said.

Monthly rents for affordable units would range from $695 to $895, and market rate units are expected to go from $1,050 to $1,350 per month.

Hrabe said the anticipated extension of the streetcar route from the River Market to Berkley Riverfront Park makes affordable housing at that location even more attractive.

“Transit is important to housing,” he said. “It saves people money and gas, and the need for a car.”

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