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St. Louis Developer Pursuing $55 Million Riverfront Apartment Plan

Katz Drug Store Developer Looks to Next Project

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Above image credit: While no architectural rendering of the proposed Lux Living riverfront project is available, the developer said its design and materials will be similar to the Crossroads project its building at 19th and Broadway. (Rendering | Lux Living)

A mid-rise apartment project is being pursued for the downtown riverfront by Lux Living, the St. Louis developer that’s also doing big residential projects in the Crossroads and Midtown areas.

Vic Alston of Lux Living said his firm is negotiating with Port KC to build an approximately 250-unit, seven- to eight-story project on a site controlled by the agency near Bar K and the CORE apartment project being built by Northpoint Development.

The proposed $55 million project also would be next to a planned KC Streetcar stop and differ significantly in scale from other apartment projects built so far on the riverfront. Both the CORE and nearby Union apartment developments are four to five stories.

“We want to pursue a higher density option,” Alston said. “This would offer really good views of the city and the river.”

Alston said his firm has the property, labeled as Parcel 12B by Port KC, under contract and is now working out the details of the project with the agency, including a tax incentive request.

“We’re very early in the process,” he said.

Lux Living wants to build a 250-unit, mid-rise apartment project on this riverfront site.
Lux Living wants to build a 250-unit, mid-rise apartment project on this riverfront site. It would be next to the CORE apartment project (left) now under construction. (Kevin Collison | CityScene)

Port KC officials declined to confirm they were in discussions with Lux Living, only saying the agency was in the “early stages of adding more apartment units to the Berkley Riverfront.

“We are working to add significant density, increase walkability and bring quality affordable units with this project,” Jon Stephens, president and CEO of Port KC.

“It will also be transit-connected with the upcoming KC Streetcar riverfront extension project. As Port KC continues to reclaim the riverfront, we are focused on building an equitable, accessible neighborhood for Kansas City.”

Last May, the Port KC development committee recommended Parcel 12B be sold to an unidentified developer who was contemplating a mid-rise, mixed-income apartment building on the site.

The project was described by Port KC officials at the time as including ground-floor retail, two levels of structured parking and a “boutique design.”

Site plan for riverfront development
The Lux Living project is proposed for Parcel 12B, on the north side of Parcel 12 shown here. (Map | Port KC)

Alston said the preliminary plan calls for about 40% of the units to be studios, 40% one-bedroom and 20%, two-bedroom. Parking for about 275 vehicles would be underneath the apartments.

“This is a good opportunity to do something high-end,” the developer said. “It should be a really good offering with views from a sky lounge at the top and great amenities.”

As for affordable housing, Alston said that will be part of the development but details have not been worked out with Port KC.

The City Council earlier this year approved a requirement that 20% of the units in projects receiving tax incentives should be equally divided between affordable and “extremely” affordable rents.

“We’re going to need to do something (affordable), but I don’t know the details,” Alston said.

Lux Living is currently building a 228-unit apartment building on the site of the former Faultless Linen building at 1923 Broadway in the Crossroads. Demolition of the Faultless building has been completed and excavation is expected to begin soon.

Katz apartment project
The Katz apartment project planned to use the rooftop of the historic drugstore for a pool and other resident amenities. (Rendering from Hoefer Welker)

The developer also recently won approval from the City Council to renovate the historic Katz Drugstore building at Main Street and Westport Road, and build a six-story, 192-unit apartment building behind it.

Alston said work on the Katz project is expected to begin by the end of this year or early 2022.

An architectural rendering of the proposed riverfront project was not available. Alston said it would be mostly brick with metal and glass, “similar to what we’re doing in the Crossroads.”

He said his firm decided to pursue its latest project on the riverfront as opposed to the River Market, noting there have been several larger apartment projects developed in that neighborhood in recent years.

“There’s a lot going on in the River Market, it’s getting a little crowded,” Alston said. “We wanted to do something outside the River Market and there’s a lot of space on the riverfront.”

If the necessary approvals are obtained, Lux Living would like to begin construction on its development in mid-2022 with completion in about 18 months. The new streetcar riverfront extension is expected to be operational by early 2025.

Flatland contributor Kevin Collison is the founder of CityScene KC, an online source for downtown news and issues. Liam Dai contributed to this report.

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