Developer pitching affordable shipping container apartments in west side KC neighborhood

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A unique project for more affordable housing could be coming to a Kansas City community.

A local developer is proposing 48 new apartments made from shipping containers.

The proposed development site sits squarely in a west side neighborhood, near 29th & Madison, just off Southwest Trafficway. 

Anna Roseburrough has lived in the area for 46 years. It's a rare community where you know nearly everyone.

“We've got each other's phone numbers. Something's going on, somebody's doing something in the neighborhood, crime, we're a great neighborhood watch,” Roseburrough said.

But she fears that sense of community could be lost if a proposed multi-family housing development goes through.

Syndicate Kansas City wants to build 48 apartments made from shipping containers right up the hill.

“Our streets are not able to handle that much traffic and everything. It's not designed well, and they're not thinking right. All they're thinking is money, cha-ching. Well fine. But they're not thinking for the other people's safety,” Roseburrough said.

But developer Paul Nagaoka said nothing could be further from the truth. He's met with the Sacred Heart Neighborhood Association and the city, trying to make the development workable for the community.

“The reason I think Midtown is a good place for it is really, in the urban core, we really need more beautiful and affordable housing options, so this is what this will provide,” said Nagaoka, Syndicate Kansas City managing partner and developer.

The plans call for four buildings, made of 12 shipping containers each. The modern, eco-friendly studio apartments would be compact at around 350 square feet. The estimated price tag of $675-$775 is about half the cost of studio spaces in downtown Kansas City.

“With that kind of thoughtfulness, I think the kind of tenants I'm going to attract are going to be the type of people that are going to be an asset to the area, as opposed to a liability,” Nagaoka said.

And he hopes it might just be a catalyst to spur further development in the historic neighborhood.

The developer also said he really wants to work in the neighborhood and has already had talks with the city to address some of their concerns about traffic and the entryway to the property.

The project is on this Tuesday's planning commission agenda, but there's a recommendation to table it until March 3.

The developer's hoping, if all goes well, shipping containers could start going in by the end of the year.

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