By Kevin Collison
The development team behind the renovations of the historic Westport Middle and High Schools is proposing a 100-unit apartment project on the grounds of the former middle school.
Sustainable Development Partners (SDP) has filed plan with the city for what’s called “Village at Westport Commons.” It calls for building, two, parallel three-story buildings with a courtyard between them southeast of 38th and Warwick.
The project calls for 22 studio units, 36 one-bedroom and 42 two-bedroom. The development would include a 103-space parking lot. It’s located about two blocks from the future 39th and Main streetcar stop.
SDP includes Chip Walsh, David Brain and Andrew Brain. The firm is currently renovating the historic Westport High School at 315 E. 39th St. into 138 apartments.
The developers could not be reached immediately for comment.
In 2017, SDP renovated the former middle school which is now the Plexpod Westport Commons co-working and event space. That development was part of an overall plan to create a 16-acre campus centered on the two historic schools.
Phase I was the middle school project, Phase II is the high school renovation and the next phase calls for new construction. The partners also recently purchased and closed the Fast Stop convenience store at 104 E. 39th St.
As part of the high school development plan, Oak Street will be reconnected between 39th and 40th streets. The 1/2 acre south lawn of the high school will be reserved as a private park for apartment residents and neighbors.
The redevelopment plan also calls for renovating a 20,000 square-foot annex built for the high school in 1992 to be used as commercial space. The developers say they’d like to locate an early childhood development, and food and beverage operators there.
A hearing on the The Village at Westport Commons apartment plan is scheduled for the Feb. 7 City Plan Commission meeting.
In a related note, the proposed apartment project is taking the place of an expansion that had been pursued by Cultivate KC at that site.
The agricultural advocacy and education organization had submitted a plan to the city to build a shed at that location along with other improvements including a small livestock pen for chickens, goats and pigs.
The decision by SDP to pursue apartments there instead, prompted the Cultivate KC to withdraw its request. A representative said the group is looking at alternative sites in Midtown.
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I am very pro-development, but there are a ton of empty spots in Midtown for an apartment project of this nature without having to displace Cultivate KC. As part of Centurions, I worked with Cultivate over this past year as our Legacy project, and it’s an amazing organization, and an asset to that neighborhood. I hope some resolution can be found for Cultivate to stay in that space.
As someone who owns and lives right by that space, I’d argue whatever cultivate does that impresses you, it doesn’t translate to their space. It’s overgrown and vacant. Never seen anyone tending to that garden. Never seen anyone selling produce there. It comes across as a crap nonprofit unable to even remotely achieve aspects of its mission.
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