Rehab work on Buck O’Neil Bridge to begin Saturday

Rehabilitation work on the Buck O’Neil Bridge is scheduled to begin on Saturday! And, the southbound lanes of Route 169 across the Buck O’Neil/Broadway Bridge will be CLOSED to all traffic through Dec. 1, according to the Missouri Department of Transportation

Suggested detours include:

  • Southbound traffic on Route 169 and I-29 will be directed to Southbound I-35 and across the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.
  • Traffic entering onto Southbound Route 69 south of I-29 will be directed to Southbound Route 9 and across The Heart of America Bridge.
  • A single lane of Route 169 will remain open south of Route 9 to allow access to the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport.  All traffic using this lane will be forced off of Southbound Route 169 at the Richards Road exit.

The northbound lanes of Route 169 will remain open across the bridge through the entire length of the project.

The Buck O’Neil Bridge is more than 60 years old and sees on average of about 40,000 vehicles each work day. Crews will be working to repair cables, railing and expansion joints on the structure.  The overall project should be completed by December 2018.

For more details, go to http://www.modot.org/kansascity/major_projects/Buck_ONeil_bridge.htm

For more information about MoDOT news, projects or events, visit the website at www.modot.mo.gov/kansascity. For instant updates, follow MoDOT_KC on Twitter, or share posts and comments on our Facebook at www.facebook.com/MoDOT.KansasCity.

O’Neil Bridge to begin short-term repairs on May 19

The Buck O’Neil Bridge will be partly closed for about six months for repairs. (Image from Missouri Department of Transportation)

By Kevin Collison, CityScene KC

Southbound traffic on the Buck O’Neill Bridge, a major link connecting the Northland and Downtown, is scheduled to shut down on Saturday, May 19 for a $7 million repair project.

Repair work to the former Broadway Bridge, which carries 44,000 vehicles daily on Route 169, is expected to be completed by Dec. 1. Northbound traffic will not be affected during construction.

The short-term repair project to the 62-year-old bridge will buy time for planning and building a replacement that would open in 2023, officials said at a recent press conference at the Mid-America Regional Council offices.

“This has been a tremendous partnership with the MIssouri Department of Transportation,” said City Manager Troy Schulte. “This is the first step in a multi-step process to build a brand, new bridge. This is a good day in Kansas City.”

The $7 million cost of the O’Neil Bridge repairs will be split evenly between the city and state. It will include repairs to expansion joints, cable replacements and a partial scour remediation.

During the repair project, one lane of Route 169 southbound will continue to allow access to the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport from the north, but no farther.

Suggested detours:

  • Southbound traffic on Route 169 and I-29 will be directed to Southbound I-35 and across the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.
  • Traffic entering onto Southbound Route 69 south of I-29 will be directed to Southbound Route 9 and across The Heart of America Bridge.

The planned $200 million replacement bridge could directly connect U.S. 169 to I-35.

The project budget also includes $2 million for an environmental study that will lay the groundwork for what’s expected to be the construction of a $200 million replacement bridge.

Key capital funding for that larger project was recently approved by city voters in April.

The city is expected to pick up $40 million of the cost with another $60 million provided by regional federal transportation funding. MoDOT will contribute $100 million for the project.

Susan Barry, MoDOT assistant district engineer, said the environmental study would take about 1 1⁄2 years to complete. Following that, a decision will be made on a new bridge which would probably be completed in 2023.

The new bridge is expected directly connect U.S. 169 traffic with Interstate 35, eliminating the current awkward situation in the River Market where traffic must exit first on to Broadway a short distance before making the connection.

Barry said a new bridge would be designed to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. It also would complement proposed improvements to the North Loop freeway that are being considered in the Beyond the Loop study.

Schulte also said the city will continue to seek additional federal funding for the bridge replacement project to help reduce the local cost. The old bridge will be demolished when its replacement is completed.

This article appeared originally on the KCUR public radio website.

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KC Streetcar tops 4 million passenger trips in 2 years

 

The KC Streetcar celebrated its second birthday on Sunday by simply doing its job.

Two years earlier, the Downtown KC Streetcar service opened to much fanfare after five years of planning, designing and construction. With four vehicles and 2.2 miles of route, the KC Streetcar completed 4,037,499 trips since opening day in 2016.

“In two short years, Downtown residents, employees, and visitors have embraced the KC Streetcar and have ridden at record numbers. The transformation of Downtown and the excitement its generated is nothing but remarkable,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of KC Streetcar Authority. “We thank Kansas City and greater Downtown, including our partners with the City of Kansas City and the KC Area Transportation Authority for the amazing support and believe the best is yet to come.”

During the first two years of service, the KC Streetcar traveled 257,840 miles and logged 32,550 vehicle hours. The KC Streetcar team (operations and maintenance) has 30 employees who keep the streetcar running 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

In addition to providing free, reliable and efficient public transit, the KC Streetcar also supports local businesses, events and the arts community by supporting programs such as Art in the Loop, National Travel & Tourism Week, Downtown Dazzle, Techweek Kansas City, and more.

The KC Streetcar is not the only thing seeing an increase in numbers.  Downtown Kansas City is also booming. Since the Downtown streetcar project was approved by the voters, there has been more than $2.1 billion dollars invested in the Greater Downtown Kansas City area, with more than $1.1 billion still planned.  This includes residential, commercial, retail and hotel developments.  Other Downtown growth facts include:

  • 25,078 residents
  • 16,630 residential units (this includes multi-family and single-family homes)
  • 90,595 employees
  • 2,221 hotel rooms

“The KC Streetcar has continued to make a positive impact in the City Market,” said Deb Churchill, City Market property manager. “Our tenants saw an increase in sales the first year of service and the momentum has continued. The Streetcar has proven to be instrumental in creating a connectivity with Downtown and the Crossroads that we had been lacking for years.”

The KC Streetcar has made a difference for visitors, employees, businesses and residents.

“I work in the Crossroads Arts District and live in Columbus Park. Every day I walk from home to the City Market streetcar stop and take the streetcar to the Kauffman Center stop.  Having the streetcar has allowed my family to support public transit and become a one-car family,” said AJ Harbison, downtown resident.

Since streetcar service began, there has been at least 20 new businesses open along or near the Main Street route.

“We opened a year ago in the City Market and the KC Streetcar has been instrumental for our business,” said Robin Luther, owner of Hawthorne 109. “The streetcar connects our boutique to people who live and work Downtown with the convenience of having a stop at 5th & Main.”

As response to the demand in ridership, the KC Streetcar Authority ordered two more streetcar vehicles for the Downtown route.  Those vehicles should arrive in 2019.  Additionally, the KC Streetcar Authority, along with the City of Kansas City, the KC Area Transportation Authority and Port KC, are planning for future streetcar extensions north towards Berkley Riverfront as well as south to UMKC.

More information on both of those projects can be found on the KC Streetcar website.

Vote today for reStart – national competition for $65K grant

Ninety seconds of your time will make all the difference to Kansas City’s homeless youth, veterans and families.

reStart has been selected as a finalist – one of eight organizations nationally – for the coveted Opus Foundation’s Gerry Rauenhorst Building Community Award. This year’s winner will be awarded $65,000 to commemorate Opus’ rich history and tradition that began 65 years ago. For their impactful work, the remaining finalists will receive $5,000 each.

reStart, of course, is a juggernaut in Downtown Kansas City. Its mission is to provide housing and services to homeless youth, families, men, and women to end homelessness in Downtown and the larger community.

But reStart needs our help to win the $65K grant – it currently ranks 4th in the balloting. Visit the Opus Foundation website, watch the reStart video, and then click the “vote” button under the reStart name:

http://bit.ly/2qUnTNV

You can vote once on each of your devices — phone, laptop, tablet, home computer, work computer — plus all of your family’s and friends’ devices, as well! Voting continues until 3 p.m. Friday (CDT), so don’t delay!

And, please share this message on your social media channels and with your friends, so we can reach as many people as possible. Thank you for helping us make an impact in our community!

KCPD, Public Works team up to improve parking access

 

As Downtown Kansas City’s momentum continues to attract more residents, visitors and businesses, the Parking Services Division of the Public Works Department and the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department have partnered to support Downtown businesses and residents through a parking enforcement upgrade.

Parking meter upgrades are designed to help improve the parking experience in Downtown.

As part of the budget process, the city allocated $145,000 to KCPD to increase Downtown parking enforcement operations.

As a result, starting today (Monday, April 9) KCPD will increase Downtown parking enforcement. Warning tickets will be issued for a short period of time, however, if the parking violation is a safety concern, or impedes the natural flow of traffic, a citation could be issued.

“We know that we can best support our Downtown businesses with adequate levels of parking enforcement to encourage parking turnover. This fits into the City’s efforts to implement parking policies based on community input and best practices,” said Public Works Director Sherri McIntyre.

The City already has online parking garage reservations, mobile payment for metered parking, electric vehicle charging stations, and car-share services.  Other parking improvement efforts include recent parking studies in the River Market and Crossroads Arts District.

The City is implementing recommendations from those studies, including development of technology that would offer real time parking availability with a new smart-phone app. The City also recently rolled out a demo of several smart parking meters downtown with the goal of using community feedback to choose one vendor for permanent installations.

You can find updates on parking policy improvements by visiting kcmo.gov/parking.

For more information on city parking policies, please contact Beth Breitenstein, Public Works Public Information Officer at 816-513-2612. For more information on parking enforcement operations, please contact Sergeant Kari Thompson, KCPD at 816-234-5170

The data tell the real Downtown housing story

The KC Streetcar is one of many amenities that’s adding  fuel to the housing boom in Downtown Kansas City.

Guest Commentary by Bill Dietrich  – The Kansas City Star, published March 15, 2018

Maintaining existing affordable housing stock and increasing that inventory are critical for the sustainability and continued growth of greater Downtown Kansas City. We’ve come a long way from the blight of the late 1990’s, but have much work still to do.

In greater Downtown Kansas City today – 31st Street north to the Missouri River, and State Line east to Woodland –  residential housing density is among the lightest of any of our peer cities and many new opportunities remain.

To place Downtown on the path to a long-term, balanced mix of housing inventory will require an updated revitalization strategy. Kansas City has accomplished most of the plan that was published in 2000 by Sasaki Associates. The Downtown Council agrees that it is time to update this plan.

The cost of housing is on Kansas City’s mind because on March 22, the City Council is expected to consider two measures concerning affordable units in future apartment projects from The Cordish Companies. To be successful, strategies need to be based on accurate information. So, here is what the data say, according to federal figures:

  • Department of Housing and Urban Development and census guidelines define affordable rent as up to 30 percent of household gross income. HUD‘s Jackson County individual median income ranges from $41,900 to $52,375.
  • At year-end 2016, there were 14,189 total rental housing units in greater Downtown, and growth continues. According to census data, 6,055 or 42.6 percent of those housing units are considered affordable, according to HUD’s criteria.
  • Market rate rents are increasing as new value is created, growing the tax base.

These data paint a picture of a Downtown with a healthy mix of affordable and market rate housing.

With its residents paying a median 41 percent of their income for housing and transportation, versus 48 percent in the whole city, Downtown rates as the most affordable neighborhood in our region, with 53 percent of its population a cross section of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and those of mixed ancestry –  almost twice as diverse as any other part of our region.

And, currently, 41 percent of the 26,000 residents in greater Downtown are millennials – the largest percentage in any neighborhood in the metropolitan area. As you move away from the city center, the percentage drops to 26 percent for Kansas City and 22 percent for the greater region. Younger generations are our future and we must be competitive to retain them.

In 2000, only those in the vanguard of urban living were willing to pay below-market rents for an apartment in an amenity poor environment.  That is not the case today with arts, culture, entertainment, retail, streetcars, employment opportunities.

Today, the greatest threat to affordable housing begins with the state of Missouri’s ill-conceived refusal to allocate funds for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, or LIHTC, which are essential to the development of new affordable inventory.

Right now, a 400-unit LIHTC, rent-restricted, affordable housing project planned for the Central Business District is unable to advance without those credits. We should be sounding the alarm. An effective strategy would be to unite as a community to educate legislators on why affordable housing and these tax credits are so important.

LIHTC obligations on existing inventory will be expiring over the next several years.  Property owners will be reviewing their options on what the next iteration will be: continuing as affordable, converting to market rate or another use. Many will determine that the upward delta in rent doesn’t justify the investment required to make their properties competitive.

Understanding the importance of affordable, workforce housing, the Downtown Council remains committed to work with the city and community to develop a comprehensive plan promoting affordability. We are steadfast in our  dedication to attracting new jobs and residents, and growing the tax base within a diverse, affordable and walkable urban community.

##

Bill Dietrich is president and CEO of the Downtown Council of Kansas City.

‘Downtown KC residents are mainly young, diverse & happy’

The Downtown Council’s State of Downtown Report – an online dashboard that illustrates the progress that Downtown has achieved in quality of life categories such as economy, housing, development and quality of life – was published this week..

Downtown Kansas City seems to be a magnet for millennials, The Kansas City Star reported on Wednesday.

Out of nearly 23,000 people who live in the city center, 41 percent are part of Generation Y, according to a new report from the Downtown Council and MySidewalk, a KC-based software company.

The Star’s article, reported by Sarah Gish, continued…

According to the report, many of these Downtown dwellers have never been married and don’t have kids. The mix is also among the most diverse in the metro area. And most say they’re pretty pleased with their quality of life.

The Downtown Council defines Downtown Kansas City as the area bordered by the Missouri River, 31st Street, the state line and the 18th & Vine Jazz District.

The concentration of millennials — those born between the early 1980s and mid-1990s — fades as you get further into the suburbs, contradicting a recent local housing survey that found that millennials prefer suburban houses to urban lofts.

Thou Mayest, a coffee shop and bar in the evolving East Crossroads, is a popular hangout for Downtown workers and dwellers. Around 41 percent of the area’s population belongs to Generation Y, according to a new report. Photo courtesy of The Kansas City Star

Millennials make up 26 percent of the Kansas City population and 22 percent of the metro population according to the “State of Downtown” report, which was put together from objective data sources such as the U.S. Census.

About 20 percent of downtown dwellers belong to Generation X, and the same percentage are Baby Boomers. The remaining population consists of older “Matures” (about 6 percent) and Generation Z (about 13 percent), those younger than millennials.

The report also found that Downtown Kansas City’s population is almost twice as diverse as surrounding areas. About 53 percent of downtown dwellers are of African-American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American or mixed ancestry, compared to 27 percent in the greater metro area.

Here are a few more facts from the Downtown data:

▪ The median household income is $41,185, and the median home rent is $826.

▪ The average household size is 1.74 people, compared to 2.53 metro-wide.

▪ More than half of downtown residents have never been married.

▪ There are around 81,740 jobs Downtown, more than in the downtowns of peer cities such as Cincinnati, San Antonio and Salt Lake City. More than half of downtown KC employees earn high wages, defined as $3,333 per month or more.

▪ The most common jobs available Downtown include sales (1,309 jobs), management (1,233), office and administration support (1,141) and business/finance (1,008).

▪ Nearly 84 percent of people who live Downtown say they’re satisfied with their quality of life, though it seems many would love to see an urban Target in the neighborhood. Around 62 percent say they’re satisfied with the value received from their tax dollars.

▪ Around 59 percent of residents say they feel safe Downtown. They reported the strongest feelings of safety around Crown Center, Hospital Hill, the River Market and the Crossroads. The Central Business District and southeast portions of Greater Downtown Kansas City were rated as feeling less safe.

The Downtown Council, working in collaboration with mySidewalk, published the State of Downtown report last Friday in conjunction with the DTC’s Annual Luncheon. The online platform is built to report objective data that captures progress and trends, as well as distinguishes Downtown KC locally, regionally and nationally.

“What is great about these reports is that once designed, they automatically update as new data becomes available,” said Bill Dietrich, President & CEO of the DTC. “Plus, you can continuously add new data sources for richer reports.”

Even though the online dashboard has been available for just one week, it ranks as one of mySidewalk’s top 10 most viewed dashboards among its established list of partners with more than 800 views.

To learn more about the State of Downtown, go to www.downtownkc.org/data

 

 

City Manager shares insights on Three Light, Loews hotel

The Three Light apartment project (center) is planned for the northeast corner of Truman Road and Main Street. A potential Four Light tower is depicted in background.

Courtesy of Kevin Collison – CityScene KC

City Manager Troy Schulte led a Downtown advocacy group on a wide-ranging review last week that included big announcements and updates regarding several major projects.

In a follow-up interview, Schulte said he told the KC Downtowners that an ordinance for Three Light, the latest high-rise apartment project planned by the Cordish Co., was introduced to the Kansas City Council the following day.

He also said the bonds for the 800-room Loews Kansas City Convention Hotel project were sold last week, the last major step to finance the $322.7 million project. Schulte described the sale as “very successful.”

Preliminary construction began on Monday of this week. The 24-story project is going up on Wyandotte Street across from the Bartle Hall Grand Ballroom. Completion is expected in March 2020.

The 300-unit Three Light tower is planned for the northeast corner of Truman Road and Main Street. The site is currently a parking lot and located along the streetcar route.

Nick Benjamin, executive director for the Cordish-owned Power & Light District, said if the City Council approves, construction is expected to begin on the $130 million project late this year with completion anticipated in early 2021.

The plan is scheduled for a hearing by the Council Economic Development Committee today.

Schulte said the city is obligated under its 2004 master development agreement with Cordish to build the parking garage for Three Light, estimated cost $17.5 million.

That contribution is offset somewhat, he said, by Cordish taking over maintenance and operating costs at the Three Light garage, and existing garages beneath the Kansas City Live block and the so-called Cosentino garage. Schulte said that’s expected to save the city $600,000 annually.

The city manager also said Cordish has agreed to make a 50 percent PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, on the additional property value of Three Light to the Kansas City Public School District, the public library and other taxing jurisdictions.

A similar arrangement was reached with those entities on the Two Light project.

The Three Light announcement closely follows the recent completion of Two Light, a $120 million, 296-unit apartment project at Truman Road and Baltimore. The 24-story tower is immediately east of the Three Light project, and just began leasing its units.

The first Cordish tower, One Light, was completed in November 2015 and was quickly leased. That $80 million, 25-story project is located at 13th and Walnut and has 315 apartments. A potential ‘Four Light’ apartment tower also is contemplated.

The apartment projects are included in the landmark  agreement reached in 2004 between Cordish and the city that covered an approximately eight-block, mostly blighted area of downtown. It included construction of the Power & Light District which began opening 10 years ago.

In a related matter, Schulte told the Downtowners that H&R Block is teaming up with Copaken Brooks and Cordish to pursue a potential office tower project on the block southwest of 13th and Main.

Block 124 currently includes the Yard House and other Power & Light tenants, but at the time of construction, a foundation was built that could support a potential, second H&R Block building above.

Schulte said H&R Block’s development rights to the site were recently extended to 2020.

“We need quality, Class A office space in downtown that could be done a little on speculation,” Schulte said. “We need to bring more job space to downtown.”

Schulte also told the Downtowners that a study group led by Cordish has been examining the possibility of building a deck over Interstate 670, the South Loop, that would extend four blocks from Grand to Wyandotte.

The concept has been contemplated for years as a way to reconnect downtown proper with the Crossroads Arts District. The city manager said he expects recommendations to be forthcoming sometime this year.

Cordish’s Benjamin declined to comment about the potential office building project and the I-670 deck study.

Schulte said he would like to see a major strategic study undertaken to help the city prioritize its spending similar to the two Sasaki studies of the last decade.

Big-ticket proposals currently on the table include removing the North Loop freeway, replacing the Broadway bridge, lowering the Missouri 9 highway viaduct and reconnecting Independence Avenue, and the potential I-670 deck.

Finally, the city manager is hopeful that a revamped financing plan for building the proposed UMKC Downtown Conservatory will be produced at some point.

The $96 million project is proposed for south of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts at 17th and Broadway.

The ambitious plan, which would bring 700 students and faculty downtown, suffered a crippling blow last June when Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens vetoed $48 million in state funding that was to have matched private money raised for the conservatory.

“A local group is trying to put plans together to build it without any state funds,” Schulte said. “I’m optimistic it will eventually come forward and there may be an even bigger development on the site.”

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Grand opening ceremony welcomes Atlas to Downtown

City Manager Troy Schulte, right, was among the first to tour the Atlas residential building during a grand opening ceremony last week. The property features 16 unique living units in the Crossroads.Downtown Council members and stakeholders gathered last week to celebrate the grand opening of Atlas, the latest residential property in Downtown KC, and to welcome prospective tenants and guests.

Atlas Lofts, 1509 Walnut, is a fully restored boutique property artfully blending old world charm and modern amenities. It features 16 superbly appointed, one-of-a-kind units. Nestled on the northern edge of the creative hub of the Crossroads Arts District, Atlas is one block away from the KC Streetcar, a neighbor to Sprint Center, and in easy walking distance to the heart of Downtown.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the official opening of Atlas, the latest residential property in Downtown. Participants included principals Jason Swords, Sunflower Development; Jeff Krum. Boulevard Brewing; Jay Tomlinson; Helix Architecture + Design; City Manager Troy Schulte, Crossroads champion Suzie Aron; and Councilwoman Jolie Justus.

More than 60 guests turned out for the Downtown Council’s grand opening ceremonies that included remarks from Jeff Crum, CEO of Boulevard Brewing Co. and a principal in the Atlas project, along with City Manager Troy Schulte, and City Councilwoman Jolie Justus.

The Downtown Council played host to a grand opening celebration of the restored Atlas building at 1509 Walnut last week.

Designed by a noted Kansas City architect in Romanesque Revival style, Atlas was constructed in 1902. It first housed the Grand Avenue Storage Company, then Atlas Storage and Transfer, followed by the Berlau Paper Company, before falling into a period of neglect and decline.

Today, the magnificent structure—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—has finally found its true calling. Every unit in Atlas is unique, each possessing its own exclusive features and a variety of today’s hottest amenities.

A partnership by principals from Sunflower Development, Helix Architecture+Design and Boulevard Brewing came together in 2015 to acquire the property and charted a bold new course, affecting a complete restoration in keeping with the rigorous standards established by the Department of the Interior.

For more information about living and leasing at Atlas, visit atlas-kc.comgo to leasing@atlas-kc.com or call 816-533-5609.

Woof! Mission accomplished at River Market dog park

The River Market Off Leash Area is open at 5th & Locust from sunrise to sunset daily.

Downtown KC’s newest dog-friendly space – the River Market Off Leash Area (RMOLA) at 5th & Locust – is inviting local pups (and their faithful owners) to take off the leash and run free!

The new RMOLA is a product of the River Market Community Improvement District (RMCID) and the River Market Community Association (RMCA). They have advocated for the new fence, off-leash area in the River Market. The RMCID manages and maintains the OLA on property which is leased from the Missouri Department of Transportation.

“The River Market OLA provides a place where people and their well-behaved dogs can socialize and exercise in a clean, safe environment, without endangering or disturbing people, property or wildlife,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the RMCID and chairman of RMCA.

The OLA is open from sunrise to sunset. Admission is free.

“Thank you to all the generous supporters who contributed and helped make this much needed amenity happen.,” Rowlands said. “The fence is up, dog stations are stocked, and benches and trash receptacles installed. Come down and enjoy your RMOLA today.”

And, be sure to join the RMOLA Facebook page and post your favorite photos of your pooch(es) socializing and blowing off some steam.

Open letter – on First Friday – by the Mayor

An open letter on the arts and ArtsKC by Mayor Sly James.

Last fall, I wrote An Open Letter to America addressing the many assets Kansas City has to offer. It came on the heels of our Kansas City Royals playoff run, but it wasn’t about baseball. Instead, the letter was intended to draw attention to our elevated profile across the U.S. and to highlight all the ways in which Kansas City is winning.

The Kansas City Arts Community is a large part of our rising profile – and rightfully so. Our Arts are incredibly vibrant and we are being recognized as a leader in many disciplines including fashion, theater, jazz, song and dance – just to name a few! In fact, we are one of only a handful of cities across the country that have all four of the major arts – opera, repertory theater, symphony & ballet. As we continue to build our reputation as a world-class city, the Arts are truly making us shine.

This Friday (today) our regional arts council, ArtsKC , will launch their annual digital giving campaign – #timetogive. This important campaign is essential to the vibrancy and vitality of Kansas City’s world-renowned arts scene.  By contributing to the ArtsKC Fund, you are funding grants to artists, arts organizations, and arts programs from all over the region.

Accessibility to the arts should be open to everyone and ArtsKC does that by funding grants that support transportation and education programming in diverse and underserved communities, and by working with organizations to provide free events throughout our five-county region.

I love this City and I find more reasons to appreciate & celebrate it every day. As we continue to see our name landing on Top 10 lists, our Arts will continue to propel us straight to the top. I hope you’ll consider making a contribution – yes, right now – consider it a significant investment in your City.

Sincerely,

Mayor Sly James, Kansas City, Missouri

Power & Light District unveils plans for Two Light luxury apartments

The Kansas City Power & Light District announced plans last night for the 24-story, 300-unit, $105 million Two Light luxury apartments. This marks The Cordish Companies’ second market-rate, high-rise apartment building in history of Downtown Kansas City.

 

The City of Kansas City and The Cordish Companies announced plans Thursday for the eagerly-awaited $105 million, 300 unit Two Light Luxury Apartments, the second of four planned luxury high-rise apartment buildings in the Power & Light District and yet another substantial investment along the soon-to-be-complete streetcar line.

Two Light brings the total of streetcar-related investment in Downtown to more than $1.1 billion and brings the total of market-rate new construction Downtown apartments announced since the beginning of construction of both the streetcar and One Light Luxury Apartments to more than 3,300.

“The announcement of Two Light builds on the momentum that is driving a lot of what is great about Kansas City these days,” Mayor Sly James said. “Clearly, KC Streetcar, an influx of technology businesses, greater appreciation of the arts in the city and much more are all making a difference. Two Light is a frosty addition to the trend.”

Two Light will be located on North Truman Road, between Walnut Street and Grand Avenue in the heart of the Power & Light District and across the street from the Sprint Center. It will rise 24 stories, with a 6-story garage including 499 parking spaces, a luxury amenity deck with infinity pool, bar, demonstration kitchen and theater room directly above the garage and 18 floors of studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom and penthouse apartments. Select penthouse units will be two stories and include their own private terraces.

The apartments will include quartz countertops, luxury flooring and cabinetry, tile bathrooms and state-of-the-art appliances. Like its sister building One Light, Two Light will feature floor-to-ceiling windows in every living room and bedroom.  The first floor of the building will include 15,000 sq. ft. of office space and 3,100 sq. ft. retail space.

Two Light will create more than 1,500 full-time jobs and will bring another 450 full-time residents Downtown, with a 25-year tax benefit to the City of more than $45 million. It will also bring a 2nd tower crane to the Power & Light District and a 4th to Downtown, emblematic of Kansas City’s accelerating growth and a symbol to developers nationwide.

“The importance of the continued residential renaissance in Downtown cannot be understated,” said Bill Dietrich, president and CEO of the Downtown Council of Kansas City.  “One Light and Two Light are setting the new standard for luxury urban living in our region.

“Two Light will have an amenity package second-to-none, and it will build upon and leverage our prior investments in revitalizing Downtown by adding much-needed density.”

Construction on Two Light, which is only the second market-rate, new construction high-rise apartment building in the history of downtown (One Light was the first) is expected to begin in early 2016 and complete in early 2018.

Downtown Kansas City has been on quite a roll recently as a result of a variety of factors including the residential development explosion, the impending completion of the streetcar, nationally televised watch parties for the World Cup and the Royals’ World Series run, the recent opening of one of the region’s best department stores at Halls Crown Center, the announcement of Techweek Kansas City in 2015 and a growing litany of other positive developments.  The country has taken notice, with Kansas City seemingly on every national hot list for places to visit and millennials to move.

The announcement of Two Light represents another positive milestone for the Power & Light District, which recently topped 90 percent occupancy while welcoming new tenants Onelife Fitness, Visit KC, Cleaver & Cork and Yard House. One Light Luxury Apartments is now seven months from completion, with unprecedented pre-leasing velocity. Move-ins are scheduled to begin in November.

The early success of One Light along with the symbolic import to other developers of new construction high-rise development has led to a flurry of announcements of other neighboring apartment projects; bringing an influx of nationally renowned multifamily developers and many hundreds of millions of dollars into the Kansas City market.  The announcement of a second high-rise apartment building will accelerate that momentum.

“Kansas City is a great American city that can compete on its merits with cities like Nashville, Portland, Austin and Dallas,” said Nick Benjamin, executive director of the Kansas City Power & Light District. “We are extremely excited to put another crane up Downtown and to offer Kansas Citians another option, just one short block from the streetcar line, to experience the quintessential urban lifestyle.  We greatly appreciate the City’s support and vision as we work together to take Kansas City to the next level.”