Crown Center Offers New Site for Potential Mid-Rise Apartments

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This 4.4-acre site south of Crown Center is being marketed as a potential mid-rise apartment project. (Image from Block Real Estate Services)

By Kevin Collison

Hallmark Cards, Inc. is continuing to offer choice Crown Center construction sites to outside developers, this time a 4.4-acre tract south of the Shook Hardy law firm office tower.

The site is being marketed by Block Real Estate Services and is described as a development opportunity for a “unique, mid-high rise multifamily” project. It’s near the planned Main Street streetcar extension.

“Centrally located near the KC streetcar, the available landsite is primed to attract developers from across the entire U.S.,” the Block release stated.

The property, now a parking lot, is the third large parcel owned by Hallmark or its subsidiary, Crown Center Redevelopment, to be offered for sale the past few years.

Last week, CityScene KC first reported a two-block property in the East Crossroads owned by Crown Center Redevelopment was being bought by Milhaus for a likely multi-family project.

Milhaus, which is based in Indianapolis, also is building an apartment project called Gallerie on land formerly owned by Crown Center at 27th and McGee streets. Construction is well underway on the $68 million, 361-unit first phase.

Stacey Paine, executive president of real estate for Hallmark and president of Crown Center Redevelopment, said that in deciding to offer more of its undeveloped land for sale, the firm is responding to an “active” downtown real estate market.

“The trend is, we believe Kansas City is in a good place now with a lot of activity and interest in the market,” Paine said. “It’s a good time for the land we have to be in peoples’ minds as a place to build.”

When Crown Center was first established in the 1970s, the entire mixed-use campus covered 85 acres. Besides the Hallmark headquarters, the massive endeavor included condominium towers, hotels, office buildings and a shopping center.

Paine said despite the recent transactions and the latest listing, Crown Center still has additional developable land available. She also said the firm has not decided to get out of the construction business itself.

“There are still future development lots we have,” she said. “It doesn’t mean we’re done developing, it’s just that we have certain properties that others others might want to (develop).”

The new property being marketed by Block Real Estate is bordered by the Crown Center complex, Grand Boulevard, Warwick Trafficway and 27th Street. The asking price is $9.57 million or $50 per square foot.

As for whether Milhaus might want to take on a third Hallmark development site, Brad Vogelsmeier, director of development, declined to comment.

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