By Kevin Collison
A major redevelopment project that will transform a block bordering Barney Allis Plaza has bumped up its office component by 43 percent, responding to a downtown market that developers believe is ripe for new space.
The project planned by Platform Ventures originally called for 70,000 square feet of office, but now has 100,000 spare feet and has increased the number of apartments planned as well, said Evan Welsh, vice president.
“The demand is really there for office,” he said. “There just hasn’t been product available.
“We think the building still looks good. It’s a win for the city and everyone involved.”
The $132.5 million redevelopment which includes a new office building atop a 400-space garage, and the renovation of the historic Kansas City Club building and part of the old Muehlbach Hotel was approved for tax incentives last week by the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority.
Welsh said preliminary renovation already is underway to convert the Kansas City Club building at 1228 Baltimore into a 144-room hotel project that will include two restaurants and meeting space.
Work on the office and garage building at the northeast corner of 13th and Wyandotte is expected to begin next summer.
The renovation of the currently vacant upper floors of the 103 year-old Muehlbach into 190 apartments is expected to begin next Fall.
The hotel to be operated by Two Roads, part of the Hyatt hotel group, is scheduled to open in June 2020. The office, garage and apartment component should be completed by the end of 2020.
The decision by Platform Ventures to bump up the size of the office component comes at a time when the downtown office market is seeing renewed interest. Last summer, downtown lost a major Starbucks IT operation because it lacked readily available office space.
A joint venture between Copaken Brooks, Jury & Associates and H&R Block recently announced a plan for a 250,000 square-foot office tower atop a 750-space garage in the Power & Light District.
Corrigan Station, the redevelopment of a 10-story building at 17th and Walnut into offices, opened in December 2016 and is now fully leased. A three-story, $11 million addition is currently under construction.
Welsh said the increased number of apartments planned for the Muehlbach, the original plan was for 117 units, was the result of reducing their size and adding amenities including a rooftop pool and fitness center on the Baltimore side of the old building.
He said about 60 percent of the units will meet the city’s definition of affordable with monthly rents of $1,100 or less.
The LCRA approved a 25-year property tax abatement, 10 years at 75 percent and 15 years at 37.5 percent, for the office, garage and apartment portion of the redevelopment. The hotel project received no tax abatement.
The city also has been asked to subsidize the garage.
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