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Developer Wins Kansas City, Missouri Approval for a $123 million Apartment, Hotel Project
 Near the Country Club Plaza; The Aloft Hotel is Slated to be Replaced by a Homewood Suites by Hilton
By Kevin Collison, The Kansas City Star, Mo.McClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Oct. 31, 2008 - A Denver developer Thursday won long-sought city approval for a $123 million apartment and hotel project near the Country Club Plaza after revising a plan rejected last year.

The Kansas City Council unanimously approved a 15-year property tax abatement to assist Don MacKenzie's development, which calls for a nine-story, 214-unit senior apartment building and a 12-story, 216-room hotel. The 46 Summit project is planned for the southwest corner of 46th and Jefferson streets.

"It's a very significant step for the project," MacKenzie said. "We hope to break ground next spring or summer on the senior housing and the hotel in the fall."

MacKenzie's original plan for the site was a 246-unit luxury apartment building and a 189-room boutique hotel operated by Aloft, a high-end concept owned by W Hotels. But his request for a 25-year property tax abatement was turned down last December by the City Plan Commission.

At the time, the commission was responding to the new tax incentive policy championed by Mayor Mark Funkhouser, and the developer was told there was a "new sheriff in town."

The revamped 46 Summit project would replace the upscale apartments with a luxury senior living complex that would include 135 independent living units, 59 assisted living units and 20 memory care units. The Aloft hotel is slated to be replaced by a Homewood Suites by Hilton.

The incentives approved by the council are a 100 percent property tax abatement for 10 years and a 50 percent abatement for five years.

City Councilwoman Beth Gottstein, whose district includes the Plaza, said the new economic development policy adopted by the city last year prompted MacKenzie to improve his plan.

"It allowed a better project to emerge, a more thoughtful project," she said. "I think it's a testament the city is definitely in business and strategic economic development is moving forward. The developer worked very carefully and made some good concessions."

MacKenzie still must obtain private financing to move forward. Despite the turmoil in the national and international credit industry, he said he thought the Plaza area location would be appealing.

"We're still working on the financing, given the status of the global marketplace, but I'm confident it will happen next year given the location," he said. "This will be the premier senior housing location in Kansas City."

The rents will be premier as well. According to a report by city staff, a one-bedroom independent living unit would be $4,100 per month and $6,990 for a three-bedroom. Assisted-living units would be $4,475 per month for a one-bedroom and $6,000 for a two-bedroom, meals included. A memory care studio would cost $5,000 per month, meals included.

Garage access to the apartments would be off Summit Street. A two-level garage with 161 spaces is planned for the apartment. The hotel would be served by a 92-space underground garage with access from Jefferson Street.

The project is expected to use environmentally friendly design techniques, and the developer is seeking Silver LEED status from the U.S. Green Building Council, according to the city report. The exterior will have some brick at lower levels, but most of the facade would be various colors of stucco.

The architect is Rosemann & Associates of Kansas City.

The 46 Summit project would replace the 17-building Colonial Court apartment complex built in 1946. MacKenzie is acquiring the development rights from Sherrill Mulhern, whose grandfather developed the apartments. She tried to redevelop the site five years ago with a low-rise apartment development, but that project failed to move forward.

To reach Kevin Collison, call 816-234-4289 or send e-mail to kcollison@kcstar.com.

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To see more of The Kansas City Star, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.kansascity.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, The Kansas City Star, Mo.

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