Copaken Brooks Apartment Tower Starts Construction in November

The 14-story Copaken Brooks project will add a dynamic new element to the downtown skyline. (Image from Copaken Brooks and Burns & McDonnell)

By Kevin Collison

Construction is expected to begin in November on the 14-story Copaken Brooks apartment tower at 18th and Walnut, with completion anticipated in spring 2020.

The $40 million project will bring residential life in the Crossroads Arts District to a new level, adding 132 apartments to the neighborhood as well as additional retail and possibly a rooftop public bar.

Developer Jon Copaken said that while there was some initial concerns about the project being out of scale, those were quickly submerged by overall enthusiasm for the plan.

“At one meeting, the height was brought up, but a number of people said this is the way the Crossroads is evolving, this is cool and positive.”

The developer obtained a 20-year property tax abatement earlier this month from Port KC to help finance the project, 85 percent for first 10 years, 65 percent for the second 10 years.

This parking lot at 18th and Walnut will be replaced by a 14-story apartment tower. The Corrigan Station office building is in background.

The site is currently a dilapidated parking lot at the southwest corner of 18th and Walnut.

Copaken said the first two levels of the project will include parking for 128 cars as well as up to 2,000 square feet of commercial space. A rooftop bar that would be open to the public also is being considered, but no decision has been made.

The project also will reserve 10 percent of its units to fit the affordable housing guideline established by the city which is currently $1,100 per month.

Most of the apartments in the building will be one-bedroom and studio units. Rents will average about $2.25 per square foot.

“Our objective design-wise was to make smaller units that are more affordable,” Copaken said.

This is the second apartment tower being built by Copaken Brooks in the Crossroads. The other is the 12-story ARTerra project nearing completion at 2100 Wyandotte. ARTerra is scheduled to open in December.

The new tower also is a half-block north of the firm’s Corrigan Station office development at 19th and Walnut.

Looking south, the Copaken Brooks project is expected to be completed in spring 2020. (Image from Copaken Brooks)

Copaken said final plans for the new apartment tower, which has not been named yet, are being reviewed by city staff. He expects that process to be completed in October.

The tower, which will add a distinctive flourish to the downtown skyline, is being designed by Trevor Hoiland of Burns & McDonnell.

His previous experience includes Helix Architecture + Design, Blackbird Design Studio and 360 Architecture.

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    • Jim, I agree 100%. We really need to think about creating a ground-floor commerce ordinance or zoning update. Blank walls kill pedestrian experience and thus degrade the overall value/potential of the neighborhood.

      We shouldn’t dictate ground floor retail vs. ground floor office, etc. Merely “commerce,” something other than a blank wall If the developer feels that the site cannot support a retail tenant at the moment, fine. Make it office. If office won’t work, then maybe a non-profit office space as a additional form of public good similar to the affordable apartments that are set aside. Anything but a blank wall.

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