First Proposal in West Bottoms Redevelopment, 280-Unit Apartment Project

The derelict Weld Wheel Building at 933 Mulberry is being demolished and replaced with new apartments in a redevelopment plan being pursued by SomeraRoad.

By Kevin Collison

SomeraRoad has submitted plans for its first project in what’s projected to be a $400 million, multi-phase investment in the West Bottoms, a 280-unit apartment project that would go up on the site of the old Weld Wheel building.

The five-story project would begin construction next January after the derelict Weld Wheel building at 933 Mulberry St. is demolished, according to an application with the City Planning Department.

The city is poised to budget $2.6 million to help demolish the property under the terms of deal reached with New York-based SomeraRoad in December.

The agreement calls for a partnership where the city rebuilds the crumbling streets, sidewalks, sewers and other infrastructure in the redevelopment area with the tax revenues generated by the multi-phase project planned by SomeraRoad.

Schematic rendering of proposed five-story SomeraRoad apartment building in West Bottoms. (Rendering by BKV Group)

SomeraRoad won rezoning last summer for the 26-acre project, the largest investment in the West Bottoms in many years. The redevelopment calls for the renovation of historic structures and the construction of new buildings in five phases through 2035.

Chris Valencia of SomeraRoad’s Kansas City office, said the proposed construction of the apartment building on the Weld Wheel site indicates his firm is serious about undertaking the massive endeavor.

“It’s our sign of our commitment here and a sign that things will get moving soon,” he said.

The apartment project would occupy the block bound by railroad tracks on the north, Union Avenue to the south, Mulberry to the west and Santa Fe Street to the east.

The SomeraRoad apartment project would be built in the area currently occupied by the Weld Wheel building. (Site plan filed with City Planning Department)

In addition to the apartments, the project would include 9,000 square-feet of retail and 158 parking spaces. If work begins in January 2024, it’s anticipated to be completed by June 2025, according to city documents.

Ultimately, SomeraRoad plans to add a total of 1,250 apartments in the development sites along with a 50-room boutique hotel and additional retail space. The firm is describing its plan for the West Bottoms as creating a “micro-village.”

In addition to rebuilding the infrastructure in the area, the city also would build a 4,500 square-foot public gathering space at 1226 Union Avenue; a 15,600 square-foot gathering space at 11th and Santa Fe, and a 95,000 square-foot space north of 1000 W. 12th St.

Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.