Streetcar Extension ‘Buzz’ Sparks Big Apartment Project at 39th and Main

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A rooftop patio at the 11-story Netherlands Hotel building will offer residents downtown views. (Illustration from Exact Partners)

By Kevin Collison

Construction is expected to begin by late spring on a $34 million residential redevelopment project at 39th and Main, the largest private investment to date prompted by the anticipated extension of the streetcar from downtown to UMKC.

The redevelopment of the historic Netherlands Hotel building and the neighboring Monarch Storage building into 144 apartments was granted a 25-year property tax abatement and $25 million revenue bond by the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority last week.

“The streetcar is critical, it’s one of the reasons we jumped on 39th and Main,” said Bob Mayer, representative for the developer Exact Partners. “The streetcar is really creating a buzz, a lot of excitement.”

Mayer said the new apartments will provide “worker bee” housing for people working at the nearby Westport Commons Plexpod, a work-share redevelopment of the former Westport Middle School, and others using the streetcar.

“Our audience who’ll be renting are millennials,” he said.

The Netherlands and Monarch apartment development would be served by a streetcar stop at 39th and Main if the streetcar is extended from downtown to UMKC. (Illustration from Exact Partners)

Rents are expected to be about $600 per month for a 375 square-foot studio, $1,000 for a 577 square-foot one-bedroom and $1,500 for an 825 square-foot two-bedroom apartment.

Amenities will include a rooftop deck on the 11-story Netherlands Hotel building with views of downtown, a coffee shop, restaurant and pocket park.

The decrepit buildings have been prominent eyesores on the midtown stretch of Main for more than 10 years. The crumbling facade of the vacant former apartment-hotel posed a safety hazard to pedestrians on Main and vagrants have broken inside.

“This property has been dilapidated and falling down for a long time,” said David Macoubrie, PIEA executive director. “The city has been working for a decade to attract development there.”

The Netherlands, 3835 Main, was completed in 1927 and the six-story Monarch, 3829 Main, in 1921.

Both are part of the National Register of Historic Places South Side Historic District. The Netherlands was renamed the Hawthorne Plaza in 1982 when it was reconfigured for senior housing.

The vacant Netherlands Hotel, also known as Hawthorne Plaza, is currently a major eyesore on Main Street.

Developer Caleb Buland of Exact Partners, said the project is expected to be completed 14 months after construction starts, approximately late summer 2019. The development is being financed by Enterprise Bank & Trust.

After its completion, the developer hopes to build a $15 million second phase on the southeast corner of 38th and Main.

That project could include a small grocery store, structured parking and either a small hotel or additional apartments geared toward the 55 and over demographic.

The earliest a Main Street streetcar extension could be operational is 2022. The $230 million project would connect downtown with Midtown/Westport, the Country Club Plaza and UMKC at 51st and Brookside.

A stop is planned for 39th and Main next to the Netherlands project.

A mail-in vote is currently underway within the boundaries of the streetcar transportation development district to authorize local funding for the project. If successful, the Kansas City Streetcar Authority plans to seek an estimated $100 million in federal funding this fall.

A streetcar extension Open House is scheduled for April 3 from 4:30- to 6:30 p.m. at Community Christian Church Centennial Hall, 4601 Main.

Among the streetcar topics are where the stops should be located, which lane should it run, how it should connect with bus service and how it should look.

Apartments in the Monarch are expected to be larger, loft-style units. (Illustration from Exact Partners)
A typical studio unit in the Netherlands Hotel redevelopment. (Illustration from Exact Partners)
A site plan for the first phase of the planned redevelopment of the Netherlands Hotel and Monarch buildings. (Map from Exact Partners)

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