Developers proposing KCK apartment building at city’s gateway meet with neighbors

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Concerned neighbors met with the developer of a proposed Kansas City, Kansas apartment building Tuesday night.

Developers of the $41.5 million project at 6th Street and Central Avenue say it will bring much needed housing and business to the area. But some homeowners worry about how it will transform neighborhoods around the Strawberry Hill area and Central Avenue business corridor.

Buck Hessel and Jerri Moulder have been collecting signatures hoping to block a proposed 148 unit apartment building across the street from their home.

“We’ve already got 85 people to sign a petition that we do not want that it’s too big, it’s too large,” Moulder said.

Plans call for a total of eight stories overlooking the Kansas City skyline with the bottom two floors a parking garage. The dramatic view and proximity to I-70 attracted developers along with filling a need.

“We constantly hear that KCK is growing. They’ve got some awesome bars, restaurants the MERC grocery store just opened. What we constantly hear that they are missing is good multifamily development of density,” Mark Moberly, director of development for the Sunflower Development Group, said.

“We need more density in this community  we need more families, we need more businesses we need more revenue generating,” Central Avenue Betterment Association Executive Director Edgar Galicia said.

But the Central Avenue Betterment Association isn’t supporting the project. It’s concerned about some of the same issues voiced at Tuesday’s meeting, traffic and the apartments not fitting with the historic community and its vision for the future. CABA wants high rise buildings between 7th and 10th street and smaller buildings along the city’s gateway and overlook.

“If they take our riverfront view who is going to stop anybody else from coming and building tall buildings in front of us and leave the neighborhoods behind,” Galicia said.

But developers say they’ve taken steps to address parking and view concerns. Moberly said the market rate rent apartments will be good for the neighborhood and business.

“We’ve had a lot of good communication and they are really positive about the need for more people, more people to frequent their bars and restaurants and spend their dollars,” he said.

The first step in the approval process is changing zoning and master development plans to high density residential. Originally planned for debate at the Jan. 10 Planning and Development Commission meeting, developers received word Tuesday the issue will now come up for a vote next month. But if they gain full approval developers hope to break ground later this year and be open in about two years.

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