The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS Commission approved a new project that will transform an acre of land in the Strawberry Hill neighborhood into an eight-story high rise apartment building.
The $41 million project, called 505 Central by Sunflower Development Group, would create 129 market rate units, a parking lot and underground parking garage at the corner of Sixth Street and Central Avenue.
The development request also required the commissioners to approve a change in zoning for the site as well as a change to the city’s master plan. Commissioners voted 8-1 to approve both requests.
While most of the commissioners supported the project, residents of the Strawberry Hill neighborhood attended the commission meeting voicing their opposition. Their concerns included a blocked view of the Kansas City, MO skyline, backed up traffic on Central Avenue and limited parking. Opponents also called the apartments luxury, not market-rate as proposed.
Sunflower Development Group director of development Mark Moberly said the cost of units will vary based on the area market, but will range from $1,000 for studio and one bedroom, and up to $2,500 for two bedrooms. Moberly also said parking would not be an issue, since there will be designated parking for apartment residents in the parking garage.
As far as the traffic backups, Moberly said Sunflower Development Group is committed to contributing at least $250,000 for traffic upgrades in the area.
Supporters of the project include business owners in the area who say they are hoping for more residents to come to the area and patronize their businesses.
“Our area is not attracting people across the river,” said Slap’s BBQ owner Mike Pierce. “We don’t have the draw and we don’t have the residents … It’s extremely hard to operate this business. If we want to grow, we need development like the one proposed tonight.”
Resident Melvin Williams said this project would move Wyandotte County forward.
“Wyandotte County is so far stuck in the past. We need to move forward,” he said. “Think about the other businesses that will come running once this happens. This could be a trigger for the next developer.”
Mayor Tyrone Garner shared the same opinion, saying the project will revitalize downtown Kansas City, KS, bring more businesses and help sustain current businesses.