November 20, 2014

From The Kansas City Business Journal

By Rob Roberts

An Omaha-based multifamily development firm plans a $24.3 million apartment project in the River Market.

The firm, Cornerstone Associates LLC, plans to develop the 140-unit project on vacant ground at 531 Grand Blvd. It will include five floors of studio through two-bedroom units on top of a two-story, 140-space parking pedestal.

Plans call for 10,000 square feet of street-level retail on the Grand Boulevard side of the pedestal and an outdoor swimming pool on part of the parking structure's roof. Other amenities will include a club room, fitness center and private apartment balconies.

The project was unveiled Thursday during a meeting of Kansas City's Planned Industrial Expansion Authority board.
Because the site is in an existing PIEA district and already had been declared blighted, the board was able to advance incentives for the project quickly.

By a 10-1 vote, with board member Marvin Lyman voting no, the board approved a 15-year property tax abatement. For the first 10 years, the developers will receive a 100 percent abatement but will make annual $12,000 payments in lieu of taxes to be divided among the affected taxing jurisdictions. For the subsequent five years, the developers will receive a 50 percent abatement.

In addition, the PIEA board approved a bond issue and sale/leaseback agreement that will allow the developers to receive a sales tax exemption on building materials worth an estimated $867,000.

Roxsen Koch, a Polsinelli PC attorney representing the developers, said they were attracted to the site, in part, by its proximity to the new downtown streetcar starter line. The project's $24.3 million development cost includes the $1.525 million cost of acquiring the site and $18.59 million in estimated construction costs.

The 531 Grand project will be Cornerstone Associates first in Kansas City. But CEO Lawrence Mazzotta said it has developed $287 million worth of projects in five Midwest states, including Kansas. Locally, its projects include the Legacy Senior Residences in Olathe, Wyndam Place Senior Residences in Shawnee and Washington Heights, another senior-living project, in Kansas City, Kan.

NSPJ Architects, a Prairie Village firm that has designed several new apartment projects in the region, has been selected to design the new River Market project.

View the article here.