By Kevin Collison
Harry Truman can relax, a small residential building in the Volker neighborhood he invested in briefly 100 years ago is safe now that developers of the proposed Jamestown Square apartment project have found a way to work around it.
At a recent virtual briefing to the Volker Neighborhood Association, a representative of the developer, Milhaus, told residents the Scotford building at 3932-34 Bell St. won’t be demolished after all to accommodate the proposed 230-unit development.
The proposed Jamestown Square development would be located on what’s now a large surface lot serving businesses along 39th and Bell streets including Jimmy’s Jiggers, d’Bronx pizza and Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill.
Truman had an ownership interest in the Scotford for only a few months in 1921, but it was long enough to get his name on a wooden commemorative sign planted in the six-unit building’s front lawn.
While the Scotford has no formal historic status, John McGurk of Milhaus told neighbors his firm listened to their objections and found a way to save the old building by acquiring two single-family houses on State Line Road which would be demolished for the project.
The revised design for Jamestown Square now wraps new construction around the Scotford.
“I think this is a much better project and I thank the neighbors for forcing us to push harder,” McGurk said.
The market-rate apartment project would wrap around a 360-space garage that would include 125 spaces to replace those lost to the businesses along with parking for the apartment residents. Six spaces also would be reserved for Scotford residents.
The garage entrance would be off State Line Road. The preliminary proposal calls for businesses to validate the reserved parking used by their customers.
If successful, it would be the first major development on the Missouri side since West 39th, a 70-unit apartment and retail project, opened at the northeast corner of 39th and State Line in 2013.
The target market is the thousands of employees and students at the KU Medical campus immediately across State Line Road.
Jefferson Square would also be potentially served by an extension of the streetcar route on 39th Street west from Main Street that would be the subject of a proposed study requested by KU Med and the Unified Government of Wyandotte County.
The project would be five stories along State Line Road and four stories along Bell where it would face the residential neighborhood of single-family homes and small apartment buildings.
McGurk said the rezoning request for the Jamestown Square project is expected to go before the City Plan Commission on Dec. 7 and then go to the City Council later that month.
If successful in winning approvals, construction would start next summer with completion in the summer of 2024. Some residents could begin occupying the project a few months before final work is done, McGurk said.
The development plan also calls for the garage to be completed as soon as possible to minimize the disruption to businesses and their customers on 39th Street.
While it’s being built, McGurk said the developer has made arrangements with KU Med to allow customers to use its garage across the street temporarily.
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