Kansas City Authority Approves New Round Of Development Tax Breaks, Including Plaza Tower

Apr 21, 2017

Construction on the first multi-tenant office tower to go up in the Country Club Plaza in more than a decade is expected to begin this summer following approval of final incentives.

The 14-story 46 Penn Centre project is planned for 46th Terrace and Pennsylvania Avenue just north of the Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist by Block Real Estate Services.

The $93 million development was first proposed more than three years ago.

“There were many hurdles,” says Block Real Estate Services Principal Steve Block. “We had to go through the entitlement process, meeting with neighborhood people, the church, Friends of the Plaza — it was all cordial, but it was a long process.”

The project was approved for its final incentive, a $21 million revenue bond that exempts sales tax on construction materials, from the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA) this week. It previously won approval for a 20-year property tax abatement.

While the 10-story Polsinelli law firm headquarters, Plaza Vista, opened in 2013, it was built for a single tenant. The last multi-tenant office building to go up in the Plaza area was the 11-story Plaza Colonnade building in 2005.

Block says his firm has leased enough space in 46 Penn Centre to move forward with a construction start by late summer with completion expected in March 2019.

A financial service firm has agreed to occupy up to 37,500 square feet in the building’s upper two floors. Block Real Estate Services also plans to relocate its offices to the building. Discussions are in the works with other tenants as well.

The building features eight floors of offices above an eight-level garage with 630 spaces. Two floors of the garage are underground. In addition to the 200,000 square feet of office space, 10,000 square-feet are available on the lower level for a restaurant or retail use.

The PIEA board also was briefed on a hotel development planned for the former AirWorld Center building at 10920 NW Ambassador near Interstate 29 and 112th Street.

A proposed Hilton Garden Inn that would occupy the currently vacant AirWorld building near I-29 and 112th Street.
Credit Courtesy KMG Hotels

KMG Hotels of Kansas City wants to renovate the vacant, 40-year-old AirWorld building to become a 104-room Hilton Garden Inn, Bryant Parker, an attorney for the developer, told the PIEA board.

The developer is seeking a 21-year property tax abatement as part of its financing package. The plan calls for work to begin on the Hilton Garden this fall with an opening in 2019 if incentives are approved.

Following completion of the Hilton Garden, Bryant says KMG wants to build a 98-room Tru by Hilton hotel next door. The value of both hotel projects was estimated at $22 million.

In other matters, the PIEA board approved a $10 million revenue bond for a new canning facility planned by Boulevard Brewing. The incentive would exempt sales tax on construction materials.

Jeff Krum, president of Boulevard, says the 24,000 square-foot canning facility will be located at 26th and Belleview near the Boulevard Brewing complex off Southwest Boulevard.

He told the PIEA board the trend is growing in the craft brew industry to use cans in addition to bottles. Boulevard began contracting with out-of-state facilities to can its beer about three years ago.

“Bringing this back to Kansas City will give us greater flexibility, control and quality,” says Krum.

Work is expected to begin soon on the project with completion in early 2018.

Finally, the PIEA board approved $15 million in revenue bonds, also to exempt sales tax on construction materials, for the St. Anthony’s senior housing development at 6724 Troost.

The 222-unit project is being described as a “Catholic Retirement Community” and includes the complete renovation of a high-rise building at the site along with construction of two three-story buildings.

Developer Mark Ledom says construction is expected to begin in July with the first residences to be ready by June 2018.

Kevin Collison is a freelance contributor for KCUR 89.3.