By Kevin Collison
A development agency got an early look last week at a proposed $114 million project that includes renovating two historic buildings and building a combination garage and office building in the heart of downtown.
Platform Ventures plans to seek tax incentives for a redevelopment plan that includes renovating the former Kansas City Club building into a 144-room upscale hotel, converting part of the old Muehlbach Hotel into 117 apartments and building a 360-space garage and 70,000 square-foot office building.
The redevelopment plan includes much of the city block between Wyandotte and Baltimore from 12th to 13th streets. The new, approximately seven-story office building would be across from Barney Allis Plaza on the northeast corner of 13th and Wyandotte.
Evan Welsh, vice president of Platform Ventures, told the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority board the success of the Corrigan Station office project has given developers confidence there is a need for more premium office space downtown.
Corrigan Station, the redevelopment of a 10-story building at 17th and Walnut, opened in December 2016 and is now fully leased. A three-story, $11 million addition is currently under construction.
“Corrigan Station has proved people are looking for new Class A space,” Welsh said. “I think there will be demand for that (13th and Wyandotte) location. It fills out the block.”
The office and garage project would be located on property that’s currently occupied by a surface parking lot and an old garage which has been closed for safety reasons. That garage would be demolished.
Welsh said his firm originally wanted to redevelop the former Kansas City Club at 1228 Baltimore as a luxury condo project, but abandoned that idea. It bought the building in 2015.
The plan now calls for it to be redeveloped as a luxury hotel by Silver West Hotels, a subsidiary of Platform Ventures, and Two Roads Hospitality.
Two Roads converted a similar building in Chicago, the Chicago Athletic Association, into a hotel. No name or flag has been determined yet for the hotel.
As for the Muehlbach, Welsh said the owners, Kansas City Hotel Group, wanted to renovate the space into apartments and the new garage is intended to supply parking for all three projects.
The famous hotel opened in 1915, but its upper room floors have been vacant for more than 20 years. Other parts of the old Muehlebach, including its historic lobby, were incorporated into the Downtown Marriott hotel in the 1990s.
The city would be asked to pay $250,000 annually, to be raised 5 percent each year over 25 years, to subsidize the garage.
About half its spaces would be available to the public after hours and weekends at no cost. The remainder would be dedicated to hotel valet parking and residents of the Muehlbach apartment conversion.
According to a consultant’s report to the LCRA, Platform Ventures plans to seek tax incentives that include a 25 year property tax abatement from the LCRA, 75 percent for 10 years, 37.5 percent for 15 years.
The developer would like to return to the LCRA for a formal review of their incentive request in June or July.
If successful, the hotel conversion would be completed next year, and the office and garage project finished in 2020. No timetable has been set for the Muehlbach project.
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