UC-B debuts New Brookside housing, expansion efforts

Eric Linebarger, architect at HOK, and John Hoffman, developer and partner at UC-B Properties, officially opened 63Brookside Friday morning. The new multifamily building is the first in Brookside in more than 40 years.

A trio of local developers are making good on their plan plan to expand the legacy neighborhood of Brookside eastward toward Troost. On Friday morning, UC-B Properties and HOK will debut the first new construction apartment building in more than 40 years.

“63Brookside represents the first step toward building new, exciting and architecturally significant structures as our city addresses the needs of the greater community, especially those areas along Troost that have long been neglected,” said John Hoffman, partner at UC-B Properties.

Located at 63rd Street and Holmes, 63Brookside is a 23-unit building consisting of one- and two-bedroom units averaging about 800 square feet. Built by local Native American builder Bear Claw Construction Management, each unit has luxury finishes, a patio, washer and dryer, open kitchens, Google Fiber, and gated parking. Rents range from $1,100 to $1,500. Pre-leasing began mid-July, and the apartments are already 40 percent leased.

As part of Friday morning’s ceremony, UC-B will also present a check to DeLaSalle Education Center at 3737 Troost. UC-B has become involved with the career prep academy, which focuses on job training that leads to careers. The funds will go toward a specific construction program established this year to promote training in the building trades.

63Brookside consists of 23 modern apartments -- the first newly built rentals the neighborhood has seen in more than 40 years.

Eric Linebarger, lead designer at HOK, described the challenges inherent in designing and knitting new, modern living space into the existing fabric of the historic neighborhood.

“From the onset of the project, John’s vision was to use the project as a link, stitching together communities, but also linking the diversity of architecture on the 63rd street corridor,” Linebarger said. “We were surrounded by the art deco phone company building to the east,  the modernist buildings of the west side and the residential neighborhood to the north. This had to embody all of that history while still firmly looking forward and being of our time and being a statement of how we live today.”

Just a few doors down at 63rd and Oak, UC-B’s second Brookside project will be ready for occupancy at the end of the year. 63Oak will be a cluster of five newly built townhomes, where Hoffman will be a resident. He believes both projects will attract both empty nesters and millennials who have fond memories of growing up in Brookside.

These two projects will add to the momentum of the growing corridor, thanks to another local developer, Butch Rigby. Rigby saw UC-B’s investment as an opportunity to finally purchase and invest in properties along 63rd Street. Once Rigby learned of UC-B’s housing plans, he bought five buildings where he’s debuted new retail like The Unbakery, a revamped office building for small businesses and artists, event space at Brookside Gardens, and more.

HOK's design focused on outdoor spaces and porches, a nod to the neighborhood and its historic colonnade multifamily buildings, says Eric Linebarger.

But UC-B’s two Brookside housing projects are the first moves in a string of planned, targeted investments. Alongside partner Lance Carlton, Hoffman intends to connect the “New Brookside” corridor to Troost Avenue, and from there, he predicts investment to continue along the troubled dividing line. As investment in the area builds, UC-B will look to reinvigorate a block of properties it owns at 55th and Troost.

According to Hoffman, the duo’s largest investment strategy focuses on new development in older, first tier neighborhoods, somewhere within the vicinity of “legacy properties.” Legacy properties are well-established and/or historical pieces of real estate that “aren’t going away,” he said, noting UC-B’s presence in neighborhoods like Hyde Park, Longfellow, and Beacon Hill.

“We want to build in the area created using legacy properties as epicenters,” Hoffman said. “As you move away from [epicenters], it becomes an area where more and more residential develops.”

UC-B has a handful of other projects currently underway, including a $90 million project south of Crown Center at 27th and Gilham, new single family homes in Beacon Hill, a hotel at 24th and Troost, and apartments and retail at 27th and Troost. Additionally, UC-B recently relocated its offices to 4325 Troost, where the firm plans to construct four of the first market rate, single family homes in the Manheim neighborhood in more than 50 years.

For more information on 63Brookside, visit UC-B’s website.