By Kevin Collison
Another apartment project may be in the works for the 18th and Vine District, this one a potential 195-unit proposal that would be built by Grayson Capital on the east side of Lydia between 18th and 19th streets.
Grayson won approval last week from the City Council to negotiate a deal to develop that city-owned property for Phase I of a development. It also would include a second phase retail project on city-owned property at the southwest corner of 18th and The Paseo.
The latest proposal arrives when investment is surging in the area with projects that would add hundreds of apartments, a Black-owned microbrewery, and more cultural assets including an expanded Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the Zhou B. Art Center.
“There’s a lot of action and we’re excited to be part of it,” said Michael Collins, CEO of Grayson. “If we’re alone, it’s not good.”
Phase I of the proposed development along Lydia calls for a 4- or 5-story apartment building that would include a blend of studio, one- and two-bedroom units aimed at a mixed-income market. Units would range from 500 square-feet to 900 square-feet.
Phase II currently calls for a 12,400 square-foot retail building, although Collins said the final design could change depending on how the nearby Negro Leagues Baseball Museum expansion unfolds.
In a presentation to the Council Neighborhood Planning and Development Committee last weeks said he was exploring a potential partnership with the Negro Leagues Museum. The NLBM is pursuing a $25 million project by the historic Paseo YMCA.
The proposed Grayson development would seek incentives to help its financing.
It would be near the Full Employment Council building at 1740 The Paseo and the developer said whatever parking would be used for the project would be replaced to the agency.
This is the second development deal being pursued by Grayson for surplus city property.
The developer is finalizing details for a an apartment project at 1531 Holmes in the East Crossroads. That proposal would replace a city-owned building with 180 apartments and 6,000 square-feet of ground level retail.
Collins has a background in government and the private sector. He was an aide to former Sen. Kit Bond, CEO of the KC Port Authority for a stint and most recently worked for J.E. Dunn.
The developer said his firm is looking at opportunities in Dallas and Austin as well as Kansas City.
“We’re looking at areas that are connected to transit or will be connected to transit as well as areas on the cusp of being developed,” he said.
“We we’re looking at opportunities for transit-oriented development.”
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