A Kansas City economic development agency voted Wednesday to sell a small downtown parking lot for use as part of what may become Downtown’s next office tower development.
The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority voted 4-0 to buy the city-owned lot at the southeast corner of 12th Street and Grand Boulevard and sell it for the same price — $425,000 — to 112 Redevelopers LLC, an affiliate of Copaken Brooks.
Jon Copaken, a principal with Copaken Brooks, said the acquisition was necessary for the affiliate’s plan to develop a 10-story, 270,000-square-foot tower in that block, which is immediately north of Sprint Center. Although most of the building would be used for offices, the project is being referred to as mixed-use because it would include 50,000 square feet of retail in addition to a 1,300-space parking garage.
Copaken Brooks previously floated a plan for a more grandiose office tower on the site, which is bounded by 12th Street on the north, 13th Street on the south, McGee Street on the east and Grand Boulevard on the west. That $200 million plan called for a 25-story building with a spiraling design achieved by rotating each of the building’s 21,000-square-foot floor plates 4 degrees from the one below it.
Copaken said Tuesday that the 10-story, 270,000-square-foot plan “is what we are currently approved to construct.” But “as always,” he added, “if a major tenant’s need required a change, we would consider that, and the acquisition of this (parking lot) parcel allows flexibility to modify the design, if necessary.”
Copaken, whose firm developed Downtown’s last multitenant office tower, 1201 Walnut, 26 years ago, said in a previous interview that he had long viewed the block in question as “the next logical corporate headquarters-type site Downtown.”
With the purchase of the city-owned lot, Copaken Brooks affiliates now own about three-quarters of the block — everything but the northeast quadrant, which includes the block’s only two structures — the one-story law offices at 1222 McGee St. and the two-story home of the Zoo Bar and other businesses at 1212 McGee St. — plus an L-shaped city-owned parking lot.
Copaken said Wednesday that “unifying the block” by buying those parcels might be a good idea. But he added that such an acquisition is “not mandatory for our approved plan.”
The parking lot to be conveyed to 112 Redevelopers LLC was previously the site of the eight-story Law Building, which was completed in 1930. Developer Matt Abbott bought the then-vacant and crumbling building in 2002 and planned to redevelop it for mixed uses. But it was demolished after Abbott failed to meet a renovation deadline imposed because the structure was on the city’s dangerous buildings list.
Located across 12th Street from the Traders on Grand redevelopment, the parking lot parcel is expected to be reduced in size by a city and Kansas City Area Transportation Authority plan to expand a bus stop at that corner, Copaken said.
“In order to provide for the uniform development of this block ... and to enhance our ability to design and market this (mixed-use tower) project,” Copaken added, “the acquisition of this small parcel is necessary.”
To remain eligible for tax increment financing support approved for the project, Copaken said 112 Redevelopers LLC will have to commence construction by October 2023. But he expects market demand to allow the project to advance sooner than that.
“We would like to begin construction as soon as possible,” he said, “and will plan to do so as soon as we have commitments for an occupant or occupants to lease approximately 50 percent of the leasable square footage of the building. We have spoken to numerous potential tenants, but we do not have any commitments at this time.”
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