New apartments and townhomes are coming to downtown Kansas City, Kansas, next summer.
The $11 million project from the Prairie Fire Development Group and Community Housing of Wyandotte County will bring about 50 units, ranging in price from $500 a month to $1,100 a month, to Washington Boulevard near the 7th Street Trafficway.
Robert Baynham has been the pastor at the nearby Metropolitan Baptist Church for 37 years. He said the Boulevard Lofts will be the first new housing development he's seen in downtown or northeast Kansas City, Kansas.
"I think it's a tremendous idea because it refurbishes the community and replaces houses and buildings that have played their part and role in history in the city," Baynham said.
He said the area is changing, which he thinks is good but noted some long-term residents have resisted.
"Groups have worked so hard to bring about a change. In the long run, I'm sure it will impact us economically and also give the beautification of the area, and other opportunities for people to enjoy life in this area of KCK," Baynham said.
Kelley Hrabe, one of the developers for Boulevard Lofts, said he hopes this will be transformative for the area.
"If you look at the site now, it's overgrowth, just trash, things have been allowed to deteriorate there with vacant buildings," he said. "We're going to take this huge liability and hopefully turn it into this catalytic benefit for the neighborhood."
Boulevard Lofts is being financed with affordable housing tax credits from the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation and a grant from the Board of Public Utilities. Eighty percent of the units will be income-restricted, while the remaining 20 percent will be market rate.
In a statement, CHWC Executive Director Brennan Crawford said they hope to turn the development into a community asset, by integrating agriculture and facilitating gardening and food production. The apartment community will have vegetable and flower gardens and beehives, which the developers said they hope will serve the broader neighborhood.
Construction is set to begin next week. Hrabe said he hopes to open pre-leasing next May and open late summer 2020.