Planners gave the green light for Kansas City to abandon an alley right-of-way that runs through a block that philanthropist Shirley Helzberg is eyeing for redevelopment, with historic preservation and new-build components.
The Kansas City Plan Commission last Tuesday recommended that the city give up the 167-foot-long asphalt alleyway between 17th and 18th streets, in the block bounded west to east by Central and Wyandotte streets.
If approved, the vacation would accommodate the first portion of a multiphase development by Helzberg, who proposes renovating two vacant Film Row buildings for historic offices. The buildings to be saved include the former Columbia Pictures and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios buildings at 214 W. 18th St. and 220 W. 18th St., respectively.
A connector structure would link the small Columbia Pictures building, which has struggled with leasing, across the alley with the MGM Studios building, which now is in “terrible shape,” said Pete Lacy, a representative for Helzberg with Lacy & Co., the project’s development manager.
The new connection will allow the future offices to share amenities and be more economically viable, he told city planners.