By Alex Dapp
UC-B Properties, a local Kansas City development firm, and Milhaus, an Indianapolis-based developer, have plans to transform a now parking garage-dominated five acre lot in Crown Center into a thriving residential and commercial space. The duo revealed details of the plan with the KC Downtowners on Wednesday.
“Joyce Hall had a plan back in the 60s to make Crown Center a place where you could live and work and entertain in the same neighborhood,” UC-B Properties President John Hoffman said. His goal is to make that plan come full circle.
“We’ve never done anything this big,” he admitted. “We interviewed a couple of different developers in Kansas City, and they just didn’t get it.” That’s where Milhaus comes in. The partnership between UC-B and Milhaus formed over a mutual goal: to further encourage downtown and urban population growth.
Milhaus is currently working on development projects in over five different cities and has an impressive portfolio of past and current projects. What made Kansas City stand out, according to Milhaus President Jeremy Stephenson, were the historically low unemployment rate and the strong technology growth found in the Kansas City area.
“You’ve got to look for opportunities where there’s going to be a lot of growth. There’s really solid tech growth that’s occurring here,” Stephenson said. “Kansas City was just announced as the second best market for women in technology and that might not seem important, but to us that is because it shows a progressive culture. Those are the kinds of places where urbanization of the core is going to happen. People are interested in living in those kinds of environments.”
The development site is located at 27th Street, with McGee Street to the West, 27th Terrace to the South and Gilham Road to the East. The proposed development plan includes 350 for-rent apartments, 53 condominiums, 14 for-sale townhomes and over 8,000 square feet of retail space.
In addition to UC-B and Milhaus, the project team includes HOK as master planner, as well Dwell Design Studio and Kaw Valley Engineering. DRAW Architecture and Urban Design is the architect designing the townhomes and condos.
Construction is scheduled to begin fall of 2016.