By Kevin Collison
The Troost revival is continuing to rise with the Wonder Shops + Flats mixed-use development nearing completion in the former Wonder Bread bakery at the corner of East 30th Street.
The 150,000 square-foot building, which opened in 1909 as Continental Bakers before shifting to Wonder Bread, has been restored with 87 apartments, 45,000 square feet of commercial space and a rooftop called “The Skyline” that features a 1949 bread truck.
Blip Roasters also is opening soon along with a pediatric medical and dental clinic, a Freight House Fitness center and coming soon, a brew pub and spa.
The entire $18 million project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“This will introduce a lot of people to Troost and provide more services” said developer and architect Caleb Buland of Exact Partners.
Wonder is the latest of a string of new investments along Troost including UMKC student housing at 25th street, a LaQuinta Hotel going up at 24th street, a 182-apartment project being built by Milhaus at 27th street and the planned $78 million Armour Corners mixed-use residential project planned by MAC Properties.
On Wednesday, Buland and Bob Mayer, president of M R Capital Advisors, discussed the recent Troost comeback to a visiting delegation organized by the St. Petersburg, Fla. Chamber of Commerce.
They were joined by a panel that included Audrey Navarro of Clemons Real Estate, Jason Carter-Solomon, vice president of Enterprise Bank & Trust, and Chris Goode, founder and owner of Ruby Jean’s Juicery.
Navarro, whose firm is redeveloping seven historic buildings nearby on the 3100 block of Troost, estimated $400 million in projects are either underway or planned along the Troost corridor from downtown to 63rd street, including Hospital Hill.
Carter-Solomon said Troost is benefiting directly from the redevelopment of greater downtown over the past decade or more. His St. Louis-based bank is a lender on the Wonder and LaQuinta hotel projects.
“Troost is a corridor whose time has truly come,” he told the group. “Progress to the west has crept in this direction for years and is knocking on the door.”
Goode said Ruby Jean’s has been helped by the city’s decision to move its health department offices to 2400 Troost, and the Kansas City School District’s relocation of its headquarters to 2901 Troost. Both furnish customers to his business.
He opened his “flagship” Ruby Jean’s restaurant and juicery across the street from Wonder at 3000 Troost a year ago.
“We’re the only, all health-establishment in the entire corridor,” Goode said. “I’m grateful to be part of this corridor.”
Before leading the Floridians on a tour, Caleb told them the redevelopment of the Wonder Bread building was aided by the Missouri historic tax credit program.
Throughout the old bakery, the developers have retained much of its old flavor including an original Wonder Bread sign with its familiar dot pattern, a wall in the concierge lounge decorated with former Twinkies baking molds and the 1949 bread truck on the roof that will double as a DJ booth and “groom’s pad.”
The rooftop has views of downtown and is linked to a 2,500 square-foot indoor event space that doubles as an art gallery. The Skyline can accommodate up to 250 people.
Seventy of the apartments already are occupied and all will be ready by Nov. 1. About half are one-bedroom the remainder two-bedroom, and rents range $600 to $1,000 per month. There’s indoor parking for 50 cars and a protected surface lot for another 50.
The residents also have a large outdoor patio entertainment area located on the old bakery loading dock. It includes a bar and pickle ball courts.
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