Work Begins on 163-Unit Apartment Project at 31st and Gillham

Rendering of the 163-unit Levy at Martini Corner project being built at 31st and Gillham Road. (Rendering by Clockwork)

By Kevin Collison

The old Velvet Freeze building at 31st and Gillham Road is expected to demolished within the next few weeks to make way for a long-planned 163-unit apartment project, part of several big investments in the area.

Developer Gary Hassenflu said asbestos removal has begun in the long vacant structure, which originally opened as the Levy Brothers building in 1925, and demolition is set to begin in a couple weeks.

He said the construction of his planned $32 million Levy at Martini Corner apartment development should begin in about six months.

“We’re super enthused about the promise of investing our dollars in that area,” Hassenflu said.

“We already have a waiting list with the neighborhood associations and this will be a great alternative for residents in and outside the area.”

Work has begun demolishing the old Velvet Freeze building at 31st and Gillham Road.

The plan calls for a five-story, U-shaped building above a two-level, 175-space garage. The complex includes a swimming pool deck and fitness room. It includes 4,900 square-feet of retail space at the corner of 31st and Gillham.

The breakdown of apartments calls for 76 studios, 70 one-bedroom and 17 two-bedroom units

The project is near other major developments proposed or underway including a planned renovation of the El Torreon ballroom into event space; the $12 million renovation of the Aines Dairy building into 50 apartments, and improvements to Martini Corners.

There also has been significant development at Tower East, named after the nearby landmark broadcast tower, including the new Kansas City PBS complex at 31st and Main  and the renovation of the former Acme Building into apartments and artist space.

“There’s a ton of momentum in the area,” Hassenflu said.

The developer anticipates the new apartment project will be ready for residents by Summer 2025.

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