By Kevin Collison
Melissa “Missy” Ferchill hails from Cleveland and while a passionate Browns fan, she thinks the Chiefs should have been penalized for spearing over that controversial end zone fumble, her firm continues to invest here.
MCM Company is planning to begin a $24 million second phase of its West Bottoms Flats development this summer, completing the renovation of the historic Abernathy building at 1525 W. Ninth St.
The 265-unit first phase of West Bottoms Flats opened last June and Ferchill said her decision to be the first developer to start renovating the massive warehouses of the Bottoms into housing is paying off.
About 40 percent of the apartments created in the historic Liberty, Wyoming and part of the Abernathy buildings are leased.
“I think it’s going well,” Ferchill said. “Our tenants like it down there and we’ve gotten great reviews. The city also has been super supportive.
“I think when more people we get down there, the better it will be. After the pandemic, I think we’ll see more people milling in the West Bottoms.”
The second phase calls for renovating the west section of the Abernathy building into 90 additional apartments. The historic building dates to 1880 with additions in 1890, 1900 and 1905.
The former Abernathy Furniture Co. was one of the earliest businesses in the Bottoms. At its peak, it manufactured and shipped a wide range of furniture and upholstery work as well as caskets.
The firm closed in 1950 and in recent years a company called Basket Specialties has operated there as a basket wholesaler. Many people know the building as the Basket Building.
Ferchill said the strongest market so far at West Bottoms Flats has been for smaller studios known as micro-units. Monthly rents start at $825 for a 312 square-foot micro-unit.
“Micro-units have been incredibly popular,” she said. “I wish had more. Smaller one-bedroom units also are popular.”
The monthly rents for a 534 square-foot one-bedroom are $1,050 and $1,325 for a 634 square-foot two-bedroom.
The second phase calls for renovating the remainder of the Abernathy into 40 micros, 42 one-bedroom and eight, two-bedroom units. The building exterior will be repaired and the interior will be reconnected to the rest of the building.
The project also calls for continuing the green infrastructure and storm water management components of the remainder of the West Bottoms Flats development, and residents will be able to use the existing courtyard and outdoor spaces.
The Abernathy rehab already has been approved for $4 million in federal historic tax credits and $5.5 million in state historic tax credits.
If construction begins this summer, the second phase should be completed by the end of 2022.
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