It’s Official, Three Light Starts Next Month, Midland Renovation this Fall

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Dignitaries including Cordish officials, Councilman Eric Bunch and City Manager Brian Platt at ceremonial Three Light groundbreaking.

(Updated Oct. 15: The Three Light project held its ceremonial groundbreaking although construction is well along on the foundation of the $140 million project and the tower crane has been up for a couple months.

Cordish officials said 60 percent of the residents of One and Two Light came from outside the metropolitan Kansas City area and the luxury apartment towers have maintained a 95 percent occupancy during the pandemic.

Lantrina Stewart, an official with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development said the Three Light project received a $106 million FHA loan, the largest in multi-state region that includes Kansas City. All three of the Cordish towers have received HUD financing.

Councilman Eric Bunch praised former Mayor Kay Barnes and other previous city officials who spearheaded the revival of downtown, ending his remarks saying “maybe we’ll get downtown baseball soon.”

Other dignitaries at the groundbreaking were John Moncke, president of the Power & Light District; Nick Benjamin, managing partner with Cordish; Paul Neidlein, JE Dunn regional president, and Brian Platt, city manager.)

By Kevin Collison

The Cordish Co. confirmed Wednesday that construction of the $140 million Three Light luxury apartment tower will begin next month, adding the renovation of the historic Midland building into affordable apartments is expected to begin this fall.

CityScene reported a month ago that J.E. Dunn, the contractor for the 26-story tower, had obtained a street closing permit beginning May 3. The official announcement comes three years after the City Council approved tax incentives for the redevelopment plan.

“We are extremely excited to commence construction on Three Light and The Midland Lofts…a sign of new growth and energy downtown following an incredibly challenging year,” Nick Benjamin, executive director of the Power & Light District, said in a statement.

Three Light will occupy what’s now a parking lot at the northeast corner of Main and Truman Road and will be connected to the Two Light apartment tower across Walnut Street by an eighth floor sky bridge.

Construction on Three Light began earlier this summer, the tower crane above its site is west of Two Light. The 1400 Baltimore office project and its crane is farther west. (Photo courtesy Chris Stritzel)

It will allow residents of both buildings to share social amenities including an infinity pool, outdoor spa, and indoor/outdoor party space and bar.

The Three Light architect is Hord Coplan Macht of Baltimore, the same firm that designed Two Light. The Three Light project will include a 472-space garage and 7,600 square-feet of retail space on the first floor.

The Three Light project is expected to be completed in May 2023, according to a press release announcing the construction start.

The $25 million renovation of the historic Midland Building into 139 apartments described as affordable was part of a deal struck with the City Council in 2018 to win approval of the tax incentive package for Three Light.

While the city is obligated under the 2004 Power & Light District redevelopment agreement to financially assist Cordish with its apartment projects, the negotiations for the deal that helped build Three Light was a contentious affair at the Council.

The Council ultimately approved a 25-year property tax abatement and $17.5 million in cash to build the project’s 475-space garage, but included a requirement that Cordish develop affordable housing in the historic Midland Building at 1221 Baltimore.

The new Three Light tower which just broke ground will have 321 apartments. (Rendering from Cordish)

“We are eager to bring the historic Midland building back to life as Midland Lofts,” Marnie Sauls, executive director of residential management for Cordish, said in a statement.

“The residential renaissance of downtown Kansas City began with historic conversions and we think it is fitting as we begin this next phase of the renaissance that at we are adding both high-rise new construction and a historic renovation.”

Rents for apartments in The Midland Lofts will begin at $700 per month. All units in the building will be available to renters making 80 percent or less of the  area median income, according to the release.

The Midland renovation project is being designed by Helix Architecture + Design and is expected to have a similar level of finish to the luxury towers developed by Cordish, the release stated.

The Midland renovation is expected to begin the third quarter of this year and be completed in late 2022.

Three Light will feature penthouse units (above) that are expected to go for up to $7,000 per month. (Rendering from Cordish)

Cordish officials have said previously the new Three Light tower is expected to seek monthly rents ranging from $1,400 for a studio up to $7,000 for a penthouse club apartment.

Three Light will join two other Cordish apartment buildings, the 307-unit One Light, which opened at 13th and Walnut in November 2015; and the 296-unit Two Light, which opened at Truman and Grand in April 2018.

The Cordish release stated the One and Two Light buildings have remained 95 percent occupied during the pandemic.

A potential ‘Four Light’ apartment tower is contemplated on a parking lot on the west side of the now-closed Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.

Officials at B&B Theatres of Liberty are in negotiations with Cordish to reopen the former Alamo space in the historic Mainstreet Theater as a B&B operation.

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