By Kevin Collison
VanTrust Real Estate, a major developer in the metro and nationwide, has joined the land rush along the planned streetcar extension, buying a two-acre property near Linwood and Main.
The developer recently purchased the McGilley’s Funeral Home property at 21 W. Linwood, and while VanTrust has no immediate plans, a company representative said the property likely will be redeveloped ultimately as residential.
“It’s a great location with the streetcar coming, and it’s bookended by the (planned streetcar) stops at 31st Street and Armour,” said Grant Harrison.
“It’s a great, long-term development play. It’s in a transit overlay district that allows hotel and/or residential, we’d figure it being a residential play.”
Adding to the development potential of the McGilley’s site, it adjoins a 5.4-acre property that includes the former Conklin Fangman car dealership at 3200 Main which has been on the market since early last year.
Harrison said his firm would be interested in developing the McGilley’s site as either a stand alone project or in concert with other potential developers.
McGilley’s, which has operated in the building since the 1940s, has downsized and now has an office across the street at 19 Linwood. Harrison said the firm does not anticipate demolishing the building until its plan for the site is finalized.
The VanTrust acquisition is the latest in a series of big real estate purchases along the streetcar route, which is expected to begin operation in early 2025.
Northpoint Development is pursuing a plan to develop a 385-unit apartment project called “The Residences at 31st and Baltimore” at the site of the former Trinity Lutheran Hospital. It recently won preliminary approval for incentives from the Ride KC Development Corp.
Doug Price has purchased several buildings at the corner of 31st and Main and has suggested building a high-rise apartment building there.
But his controversial concept, which would demolish the 1888 Jeserich building and other historic buildings, has run afoul of historic preservationists, the neighborhood and the City Council members representing the area.
On Wednesday, a Council committee endorsed a plan to have the buildings declared local landmarks, a designation that would prevent demolition for three years. It will likely received approval from the full Council today.
Other recent investments along the Main Street corridor include a large site at the southwest corner of Armour and Main acquired by Chicago-based Mac Properties. The firm’s plan for a 300-unit apartment development however, was rejected last year by the Council.
Lux Living, a St. Louis developer, is building a 192-unit apartment project at Westport Road and Main that is preserving and incorporating the historic Katz Drug Store.
An entity listing the same address as Financial Holding Corp., a business controlled by the Merriman family, has demolished the former Holiday Inn at 45th and Main to make way for an anticipated 300-unit luxury apartment project.
And Exact Partners completed the renovation of the historic Netherland Hotel and Monarch Storage buildings at 38th and Main into 144 apartments in 2020.
Exact also is pursuing the redevelopment of the ABC Storage building at 3244 Main into apartments, and has plans to redevelop the former National Guard Armory at 3620 Main into a boutique hotel and retail.
Exact also has purchased buildings at the corners of Linwood and 39th street, 3215 Main and 3901 Main.
VanTrust is a major national developer based in Kansas City.
Among its big local projects are additions to the Burns and McDonnell headquarters in Kansas City; the Dairy Farmers of America headquarters in KCK; the Kiewit Regional headquarters in Lenexa, and the Overland Park One office park at I-435 and Nall.
The firm also controls the eight-block East Village site in downtown Kansas City. It is the preferred location for a potential new ballpark for the Kansas City Royals, a concept that would likely include substantial additional development.
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