By Kevin Collison
The developer of the proposed 222-unit Fashionbilt Lofts near Quality Hill is wrapping up his application for historic tax credits and anticipates starting work on the $57 million project this spring.
Gary Hassenflu of MW Development plans to renovate the historic Barton Brothers Shoe Co. Building at 423 W. Eighth St., build a 10-story apartment tower to the east and adapt an existing three-level garage to provide 250 parking spaces.
“I like the neighborhood because its close to the Greenline and its convenient for walking, biking and other outdoor activities,” Hassenflu said.
He also noted the project is near the new offices at 805 Pennsylvania of two agencies of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that were relocated from Washington D.C. to Kansas City in 2020.
Hassenflu submitted his initial Fashionbilt plan to city economic development officials last March, part of a surge of residential applications filed ahead of the deadline when stricter incentive policies adopted by the City Council took effect.
The new Council policies required most residential projects receiving city tax incentives, including property tax abatements, to set aside 10 percent of its units as affordable and another 10 percent as “extremely affordable.”
The Council also tightened the property tax abatement program, an incentive tool often used by developers, reducing it to 10 years at 70 percent and five years at 30 percent. It had been 10 years at 75 percent and 37.5 percent for 15.
The Fashionbilt Lofts project will be seeking incentives, but Hassenflu said the request has not been finalized.
The development will include a mix of market-rate apartments with micro-units renting at $1,000; studios, $1,150, one-bedroom, $1,800 and two-bedrooms, $2,200, according to a marketing brochure for the project.
Hassenflu said no affordable apartments are planned as part of the development.
The six-story Barton Brothers building was completed in 1900 and in recent years had been used by DST Realty for offices.
“The views on the top floor of the existing (Barton Brothers) building are spectacular of downtown and the Downtown Airport,” according to the brochure.
“The view from the new tower to the south will be gorgeous with the greenery of Quality Hill’s streetscapes and the Catholic Diocese gold dome in the near horizon.”
Amenities planned for the Fashionbilt Lofts include a plaza with an outdoor pool, a turfed area on the deck for outdoor yoga and a covered outdoor kitchen for dining and entertainment.
“There will be two top levels on the new tower set off from the roof edge that will have both unit outdoor seating areas and a community seating area for the amazing views,” according to the brochure.
About 5,000 square-feet of commercial space also is planned for the development. The architect is Clockwork Architecture.
Hassenflu said once construction begins, the project should take about 20 months to complete, approximately Fall 2023.
The demand for new apartment construction continues to be strong, particularly downtown, according to a recent industry summit. The most recent report by Colliers Kansas City found the central Kansas City apartment occupancy rate was 92 percent.
Chris Stritzel contributed to this report
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