By Kevin Collison
Copaken Brooks is pursuing a 14-story apartment project at 1818 Main that is expected to include affordable units, according to a neighbor briefed on the plan.
The proposed development, which would be located on the streetcar line, was mentioned in a blog post in early October by Jon Copaken, principal with the firm. Copaken could not be reached immediately for comment.
David Johnson, co-chair of the Crossroads Community Association infrastructure committee, lives in the 1819 Baltimore lofts near the proposed project and was briefed on the plan by Copaken.
The proposal calls for 12 floors of apartments above a two-level garage and would have 112 units, according to Johnson. He also said Copaken Brooks intends to seek incentives to help finance the project through the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
The Housing Trust Fund was established by the City Council to help create more affordable housing in the city. At a minimum, developers must set aside at least 20 percent of a project’s units for households earning up to 60 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).
The Metro Kansas City AMI for one-person household is $67,700 and $77,500 for a two-person household according to federal guidelines.
On Tuesday, city voters approved a bond that would add $50 million to the Trust Fund.
The site of the proposed 1818 Main apartment project was where an office development was pitched in 2019. The project, which would have accommodated a law firm, failed to move forward.
Currently, the site is occupied by the former Southwest Boulevard State Bank which opened in 1915, and two adjoining properties that had been used as a night club in recent years.
The former bank building had been considered eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places in a survey done for the city in the early 1980s. That listing however, was not pursued and the building has no landmark protection.
The proposed 1818 Main project is similar in scale to other residential developments built by Copaken Brooks in the Crossroads.
In early 2019, the firm opened the 12-story ARTerra apartment building at 2100 Wyandotte. In mid-2020, it opened the 14-story REVERB apartment building at 18th and Walnut streets.
Johnson said neighbors have had a mixed reaction to the 1818 Main proposal.
While welcoming residential development, they are concerned about how their views would be blocked because of the project’s close proximity to the 1819 Baltimore lofts and the disruption caused by construction.
As for himself, Johnson said he has submitted a letter of support for the plan.
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They need to add street level retail/restaurant space to the ground floor if this goes through as they didn’t on the REVERB building and that’s not doing anything good for the walkability of this city.
“While welcoming residential development, they are concerned about how their views would be blocked.” Welcome to urban living.
I’m intrigued by the profile of what looks like the main street entrance to the new building — it’s very similar in shape to the façade of the existing building. I won’t get my hopes up, though.
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