In 2015, a devastating and deadly fire reduced the northwest corner of Independence and Prospect Avenues to rubble, leaving behind a vacant lot and a neighborhood in ruin. Since that time, one local developer had their plan for a commercial-only building turned down by city council in a decision that spoke to the aspirations of the community and their need for a more positive and progressive revitalization mixed-use development plan.
A New Mixed-use Development Proposal in Need
The client, BA Property LLC, had previously hired another contractor to submit a proposal. However, their proposed site plans did not meet certain criteria required by the surrounding neighborhoods. As a result, they received heavy pushback from local residents and stakeholders, prompting the client to reach out to B+A to craft a new mixed-use development proposal.
In addition to development management, architectural engineering consultation, financial, and general contracting services, one of their site plan must-haves was a memorial for the two firefighters, Larry Leggio and John Mesh, who lost their lives in the fire.
The mixed-use retail, restaurant, and residential building would stand to elevate the quality of life for area residents and give this historic community new life and energy.
Because of the fire and the tragedy surrounding it, the project attracts a great deal of attention from the neighborhood and the media. Our team needed to present a proposal to several different related groups and organizations to collect feedback and consensus so we could propose solutions that would please everybody.
Due to the property location, the development proposals needed to meet various standards, including Kansas City Ordinances, Historic Preservation Standards, Independence Corridor Overlay District Standards, Kansas City Boulevard, and Parkway Standards.
The project involved two separate land lots with different zoning, both commercial and residential. To proceed with the development, the lots needed to be combined and then rezoned.
Meeting the Needs of The Community
The previous one-story proposal that was submitted by the other firm did not meet specific criteria and experienced a great deal of pushback from various interest groups, including the resident’s association and the city. Our team was tasked with submitting a proposal for a new two-story mixed-use development that included both commercial and residential spaces.
The area under development is currently blighted and requires the demolition of the existing foundation and improvement of exterior landscape, which will add to the complexity of the job and increase construction costs.
The B+A team completely revamped the development plans to meet the needs of the client and to satisfy the requirements and requests of the neighborhood, the city, and all related organizations.
To make the overall development process hassle-free for the client, we provided a full package of development management services, including:
- Architectural Design
- Urban Redevelopment Plan Application
- Tax Abatement Application
- Financial Consultancy
- Building Permits
- Construction Bidding
- General Contracting
- Engineering Consultancy Management
In our initial design, the retail area is divided into seven retail leasing spaces, ranging from 1,276 to 2,016 square feet in size. The anticipated tenants are restaurants, retail businesses, or other service providers dedicated to serving the surrounding neighborhoods.
The building features access from the front on Independence Boulevard as well as the rear entrance in the parking lot, just off Prospect Boulevard. An outdoor dining patio along Prospect Boulevard is located next to the corner space, enhancing the streetscape and providing an attractive pedestrian destination.
The upper floor apartments are designed to meet the need of target renters, which include students from Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences, single professional workers, and young couples. The design offers modern compact spaces and secure access from the lobby entrance on the east side of the building. The approximately 600 square foot compact apartments feature minimal amenities, making these rentals attractive, competitive, and affordable to the target market.
Avoiding another tragedy like the fire event in October 2015 was top-of-mind in terms of architectural design and engineering. To answer this need, the new construction leverages durable and reliable structural framing and fire protection as required. A visiting space was designed and placed in front of a permanent memorial to commemorate the two firefighters who lost their lives protecting the community.
The project will bring much-needed improvements to a currently blighted area, providing opportunities for local businesses to enhance their exposure and contributing to the diversity of the community’s rental market.
The project progressed smoothly through all steps of the city planning process. Our team successfully presented the new development proposal to the neighborhood and various related organizations and quickly received the green light for the project.
Final approval was granted by both the Historic Preservation Commission and the City Planning Commission, which allowed us to rezone for Urban Redevelopment and permitted the construction of a mixed-use building. As a result of a public hearing, the project received many accolades from the city and the community.
We successfully helped our client attain a 100 percent tax abatement for ten years. The B+A team also supported them in preparing a bank loan application package and by introducing the client to a local bank. As a result, the client was successful in obtaining bank loan approval with an attractive low-interest rate.
More Case Studies: Mixed-use, Multifamily, Commercial and Restaurants
Read other case studies of B+A Architecture here.