(Updated July 19. The City Plan Commission approved rezoning for the East Crossroads project this week. It will next be considered by the Kansas City Council. Also included are new architectural renderings furnished by Milhaus)
By Kevin Collision
Construction of a planned East Crossroads project that would replace parking lots with four apartment buildings totaling 350 units could begin late this year and be completed by late 2020, according to the developer.
Brad Vogelsmeier of Indianapolis-based Milhaus was praised by the Crossroads Community Association infrastructure committee this week after showing members a site plan for the project proposed for two city blocks bound by Oak and Cherry, from 19th to 20th streets.
The development calls for two, five-story apartment buildings; two, four-story buildings; a two-story, 24,400 square-foot commercial structure on the southeast corner of 19th and Locust, and renovation of an existing 4,000 square-foot building into a restaurant.
Vincent Bryant, a developer who has done several projects in the Crossroads and is currently renovating the historic Kansas City Star building at 18th and McGee, said the planned Milhaus project will be a strategic investment for the area.
“I want to applaud you for coming to Kansas City and engaging local architects,” Bryant said. “I feel this site will be a game-changer, bringing residents to the East Crossroads and tying the area together with Crown Center and Hospital Hill.”
The development is planned for a 6.25-acre site immediately east of the Oak Street viaduct. The viaduct leads from the Crossroads to the Hospital Hill/Crown Center area.
Architect Dominique Davison, founder of Draw architects, the master designer of the project, said a five-story building at the corner of 19th and Oak will be the “gateway” to the development.
Davison said the project should become the residential destination for the East Crossroads, create additional opportunities for Crossroads businesses and artists, provide accessible green space, spur additional development and energize Locust Street from 18th to 19th.
David Johnson, a member of the Crossroads committee, praised Milhaus for retaining Locust, which divides the site, and not closing it for development.
Milhaus also wants to renovate the former “Motor Freight” building, now a decrepit industrial structure, and use the space as a restaurant.
Other planned amenities include an art gallery, fitness center, resident lounge, swimming pool, dog park, community gardens and grill area.
Milhaus has reserved a 1-acre parcel on the east edge of the development site along Cherry for future development.
The only other property owner on the two-block site is Matt Abbott, who has the southwest corner of 19th and Cherry. Abbott is opening an event space soon in a former industrial building across the street.
Vogelsmeier told the Crossroads committee the Milhaus project could begin construction by the end of this year and would take about 24 months to complete. In addition to Draw, HOK is doing the landscape architecture work.
Last week, the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority approved a blighted designation for the site, a step required for it to be considered for property tax abatement to assist its financing.
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.