By Kevin Collison
Mac Properties has acquired most of the high-profile block southwest of Main and Armour where the US Bank building is located and is planning a substantial mixed-use project including apartments and retail.
The site, which is at the planned Armour streetcar stop, was purchased by the Chicago-based developer this month and while plans are still preliminary, the firm does intend to build a large project there that could include more than 300 apartments.
“We see this as a very significant site that will command a pretty significant investment,” said Peter Cassel, Mac director of community development.
“It’s one of Kansas City’s great intersections.”
The big acquisition covers most of the block facing Main from Armour to 36th street and a parcel at the southwest corner of Armour and Baltimore.
It’s in the middle of a 15-block corridor along Armour where Mac has developed more than 1,700 apartments over the past decade from Broadway to Troost, most by renovating historic buildings.
The firm recently completed the renovation of former Red Cross building at 211 W. Armour into 62 apartments and is nearing completion of a new 110-unit project at 520 E. Cherry.
It also broke ground recently on the first phase of its Armour Crossing development at Armour and Troost. When completed, it will add 340 apartments in four buildings at each corner of the intersection.
Cassel said the Armour and Main development plan calls for the demolition of the three-story building housing US Bank at One W. Armour and a commercial building at 3540 Main where the Poncho’s restaurant is located.
The bank branch and other tenants will be allowed to remain on extended leases until the development plan is finalized, Cassel said. The 60,000 square-foot bank building opened in 1973.
While he declined to go into detail, he emphasized his firm will pursue a development plan that merits the large site.
“It’s a very significant parcel near a lot of buildings we own,” he said.
“We see a significant residential component and beyond residential, what we need is a commercial and retail concept that meets the needs of that intersection and the neighborhood in the urban core.”
Mac has demonstrated its capable of major developments. The firm recently completed a 36-story, 316-unit apartment tower in the Central West End neighborhood of St. Louis called 100 Above the Park.
Cassel declined to discuss the scale of what might occur at Armour and Main.
“If we knew what the plan would look like, we’d say it,” he said. “It will take some time as we work through a plan.”
The corner Mac has acquired is along the Main Street streetcar extension that recently was approved for full federal funding and is at one of the planned stops.
“I think the streetcar boosts Midtown and we hope that will be echoed in our retail interest to invest in Midtown and residents to live in Midtown,” Cassel said.
Main Street is seeing a resurgence in anticipation of the streetcar’s arrival.
The future Mac development is four blocks from the recently completed renovation of the historic Netherland and Monarch buildings into 144 apartments and a restaurant with a rooftop bar.
The site also is near the Kansas City National Guard Armory at 3620 Main, which is slated to be renovated as a boutique hotel and food court.
Kevin Klinkenberg, the executive director of Midtown KC Now, the organization charged with keeping the Main Street and Broadway corridors attractive and secure, said the Mac development is another signal the city’s investment in the streetcar is yielding dividends.
“We’re very excited to see people who want to develop and repopulate Midtown,” he said. “There’s no question, the streetcar is a major factor for the confidence developers have in Midtown.”
Liam Dai contributed to this report
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