By Kevin Collison
A 163-unit apartment project has been proposed for the northeast corner of 31st and Gillham Road, building on the residential growth in the Union Hill, Tower East and Armour areas near downtown.
Gary Hassenflu of Garrison Development is proposing the $32 million development called Levy at Martini Corner. It would require the demolition of what’s known as the Velvet Freeze building, which originally opened as the Levy Brothers building in 1925.
“I would have liked to have kept the building, but there’s not enough historic fabric left,” Hassenflu said. “It wasn’t eligible for historic tax credits.”
Hassenflu said the residential growth at the nearby Union Hill apartments and the new Gallerie apartment development near Crown Center gives him confidence there will be continued demand.
“There’s been great reception by renters in that area,” he said. “There’s been the expansions at Children’s Hospital and Truman Medical, and you also have Hallmark there.”
The location is across Gillham Road from the Martini Corner entertainment district which is scheduled for a major reinvestment by Exact Partners.
There also has been significant development at Tower East, named after the nearby landmark broadcast tower, including new restaurants, shops and the renovation of the former Acme Building into apartments and the home of the Kansas City Artists Coalition.
MAC Property’s major residential investments along Armour Boulevard also is only two blocks away from the proposed Levy apartment site.
“I think what we’ll see is an extension of south downtown,” Hassenflu said.
“The Armour spine is being redeveloped and now the Gillham space. They’ll all be served in another five years when have the (Main Street) streetcar in operation.”
The proposal calls for a five-story, U-shaped building above a two-level, 175-space garage. The complex includes a swimming pool deck and fitness room.
There also will be a 5,000 square-foot commercial space for a potential restaurant at the corner of Gillham and 31st.
The breakdown of units calls for 76 studios, 70 one-bedroom and 17 two-bedroom units Hassenflu said the monthly rents would range from $950- to $1,700.
The proposal is now before the City Plan Commission. The developer said he has not determined yet if he’ll be seeking tax incentives to help finance his plan.
If successful in winning the necessary approvals, construction could begin in May with completion by late summer 2022.
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.