In 2014, a pair of Denver-based developers walked along the streets of Kansas City, following the promised path of the city’s newest public transportation option: the streetcar. By January of 2015, Linden Street Partners gathered a group of city officials, project partners and neighborhood residents to officially kick off construction on a new apartment project at 19th and Main streets in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District.
Since the announcement of the streetcar, more than $1 billion worth of projects have been announced. Today, a swath of projects are pushing through the pipeline with ease, but it hasn’t always been that way.
“We were definitely the guinea pigs on the streetcar line,” said Andrew Ganahl, managing partner of Linden Street Partners. “There were a lot of things we needed to figure out on the fly as part of that, but our project is why they’re doing this.”
The flurry of activity in the neighborhood has been exciting, Ganahl said, but it has also highlighted the labor shortage within the construction field.
“It’s a good time for the market, because everyone is trying to do two things at once,” he said.
Come March, the 44-unit 1914 Main will make its official debut. The new concrete frame five-story apartment project will offer units ranging from 700 to 900 square feet, with rent ranging from $1,250 to $1,350. Situated directly on the new streetcar route, the building will be equipped with Google Fiber and offer brightly lit, open-style floor plans with high ceilings and impressive views.
Scott Richardson, also a partner with the firm, says the project is not amenity heavy but instead relies on the city as the amenity itself. It will, however, incorporate a new organic cold-pressed juice store on the building’s first floor. Simple Science Juices is a new Overland Park-based retailer founded by former Sporting Kansas City goalie Steve Spangler.
The momentum of the area has created another opportunity for Linden Street to invest in Kansas City. The firm just closed on its purchase of a former Kansas City Star warehouse at 1721-1723 Walnut Street, where it will add two stories and create 38 units. The end product will be similar to the 1914 Main project, with a few exceptions. The concrete building features 16-foot and 14-foot ceilings on the lower levels, a handful of two-bedroom units, and a bigger ground floor commercial space, where the partners hope to put a restaurant or office space.
And for those who are concerned about the number of units in the pipeline, Ganahl says he’s not concerned about excess supply, lack of demand or too much competition.
“The way we see it, the amount of potential demand is actually getting unlocked by the supply coming along. There was nothing nice and new in downtown for decades, so of course no one wanted to live there. But now, all of these new projects coming along all help each other because it creates a critical mass of opportunity in downtown,” Ganahl said. “One project alone can’t do that. Three projects can’t do that. You need eight or ten different things all going at the same time to give people different options, so that it’s a real place with diversity and variety. That’s what makes it a real neighborhood.”
The project team includes Centric Projects as general contractor and KEM Studio as architect. For more information on pre-leasing, visit Linden Street Partners’ website here.