By Kevin Collison
The Westover, the first of what will be a four-building, 340-unit development at each corner of Armour and Troost, opened last month at 1108 Armour and its leasing “velocity” has its developer revved up.
“We’re seeing strong demand for a good, new construction project,” said Peter Cassel, director of community development for Chicago-base Mac Properties.
“Over the years, at first it was hard to get people to think about living on Armour…We’ve had no problems so far on Troost.”
“The Crosswalks” project, formerly called Armour Corners, is the biggest new-built project to date by Mac. When all four are completed, Mac will have renovated or built 36 buildings along Armour between Troost and Broadway into more than 2,000 apartments.
When Mac began redeveloping along Armour almost 15 years ago, many of its grand, former apartment-hotel buildings were either vacant or in poor condition and being used for low-income, Section 8 housing. The street was a high-call zone for Kansas City police.
Now, the restored corridor is home to many younger adults and others attracted to urban living and its close proximity to Hospital Hill, downtown, Westport and The Plaza. It also straddles the new streetcar line and its planned station at Armour and Main.
Cassel said as Mac pushed east on its redevelopment plan, it recognized the historic stigma of Troost as Kansas City’s racial divide.
“The whole history of Troost is awful,” he said. “It was important for us to find a new and positive future as we thought about the four buildings.”
Across the street from 52-unit Westover building, the 50-unit Cavalier building is nearing completion at the southeast corner of Armour and Troost. It’s expected to begin leasing in October. Both are five stories.
On the other side of Troost, construction on two, eight-story apartment buildings is well underway, the Senate, at the southwest corner, and the Roxford at the northwest corner. Both are expected to be completed next summer.
A resident amenity building called The Dashery will be immediately west of the Roxford. It will include a pool, party room and business space for all the residents at The Crosswalks as well as any other Mac tenant up and down Armour.
Mac has two other amenity centers. The garage behind the former Red Cross building at 211 W. Armour, which was renovated as the ARC on Armour apartments, serves residents living to the west, and a pool and amenity center by the Bellerive serves the center.
The new Westover and Cavalier buildings also have their ground floor retail space already leased. A Chase bank is opening soon in the Westover and Community Grocers plans to open its second location early next year in the Cavalier.
As part of its development agreement with the city, the new apartment buildings being built by Mac offer a 10 percent discount on rents to teachers and municipal employees.
Cassel said several units in the 520 E. Armour apartment building that opened a year ago and is fully leased, are home to those eligible for the discount.
Once construction on The Crosswalks is completed, Mac has no additional projects in the pipeline. The firm had proposed a $100 million, 385-unit development at Armour and Main, but that plan was turned down in January by the City Council.
Mac had wanted to renovate the US Bank building and the nearby New Yorker apartment building, and build two, mid-rise apartment buildings in what would have been the biggest development to date on the planned streetcar line.
“It’s an extremely important corner in one of Kansas City’s best neighborhoods,” Cassel said. “In the long-term, there should be a higher and better use, but I’m not sure what it is.
“The City Council was clearly not interested in the plan we offered in January. We have no additional projects on the horizon right now.”
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