By Kevin Collison
From what will be the rooftop bar and café at the historic Netherlands Hotel project near 39th and Main, you’ll enjoy a panoramic view of Kansas City’s River-Crown-Plaza urban nexus.
Right now, there’s scaffolding and the beginnings of a canopy on the roof, but by the end of the year, developer Caleb Buland said the first phase of his $34 million residential redevelopment project, the Netherlands, should be mostly completed.
“Things have gone tremendously,” he said. “It’s a huge team every day here and we’re slightly ahead of schedule and budget.”
Throughout the 10 floors beneath him, about 70 workers from BCCM Construction were working daily to finish what will be 110 apartments. Next door, the old Monarch Storage building is being redeveloped into an additional 34 units.
Both buildings were prominent Midtown eyesores for many years as a decrepit and vacant former senior housing complex collectively known as Hawthorne Plaza.
The Netherlands, 3835 Main, was completed in 1927 and the six-story Monarch, 3829 Main, in 1921. Both are part of a National Register of Historic Places district.
Prompted by the planned extension of the streetcar down Main to UMKC, Buland and his firm, Exact Partners, launched their redevelopment plan a more than a year ago assisted by a 25-year property tax abatement from the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority.
The Netherlands expects to have a grand opening in early March, the Monarch’s completion is expected next fall.
“People are going to be happy to see we came here and did what we said we would,” Buland said.
The Netherlands is actually two companion towers each with separate heating and cooling systems. As part of the redevelopment, a seventh floor enclosed sky bridge has been created that will double as social hub for the residents.
A skyway connection also is being built between the Monarch and Netherlands. A swimming pool and deck is planned for the top of the Monarch for residents.
The rooftop bar and cafe at the Netherlands will be open to the public as well.
“We’re not expecting it to be a party scene, but a a community scene with a more diverse offering,” Buland said.
He said smaller units in the Netherland will be offered as Airbnb units, a feature he expects will appeal to travelers because of the buildings proximity to the Plaza, Westport and downtown.
The larger units are expected to be attractive to a variety of people interested in living in Midtown near what’s planned to be a streetcar stop at 39th and Main.
“The larger units should get all kinds of people wanting to live in Midtown near the streetcar,” he said, adding the Main Street extension project can’t happen soon enough.
Currently, the Kansas City Streetcar Authority is projecting completion by late 2024. All is contingent on the authority receiving $171 million in federal funding. Local funding already has been lined up.
Exact Partners also has plans for another major investment along Main Street in Midtown, a $8 million renovation of the former KC National Guard Armory at 3620 Main into a boutique hotel and food parlor.
“To me, Kansas City needs a strong Midtown to complement the Plaza and downtown,” Buland said. “We need to complete that streetcar before we lose the energy.”
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