Kansas City Council Advances Another Westport Apartment Project

Jul 20, 2017

Another apartment project in Westport moved forward Thursday after gaining approval from the Kansas City Council. 

The plan, which includes 215 apartment units, a 120 room hotel and retail and office space, sits on about 4 acres between Mill Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, north of Westport Road. 

The project would wrap around the existing Manor Square garage between Mill Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and Char Bar at 4050 Pennsylvania.

A number of proposed projects in the area have seen strong opposition from neighbors who fear the historic character of the district will change. 

Before the vote, councilwoman Jolie Justus addressed one remaining concern about the project — the vacation of a portion of Mill Street. 

"It's a little tiny triangle that is not on the street right now, it is actually a tree. There will actually be no street that is vacated its just a piece of city property that's held on," Justus said. 

Although this proposal had a little more neighborhood support than other projects in the area, Councilwoman Katheryn Shields was still skeptical. Speaking at a committee meeting last week, Shields expressed her concern about the height of the buildings compared to the current buildings in Westport. 

"I understand that there are some tall (existing) buildings in the area...it's not like you're sitting in grouping of tall buildings and you're filling it in," she said. 

She mentioned that when the council was considering another apartment project a few blocks to the east, they were  told not to worry because that project wasn't in the heart of Westport. 

"Well this is the heart of Westport and I really think that we need to be concerned about that," Shields said.

The plan was passed Thursday without discussion. Shields and councilwoman Alissia Canady voted against the measure.

Several projects in the works for historic Westport have prompted a grassroots effort to survey the district’s buildings to help provide a solid planning base for future development decisions.

Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and the afternoon newscaster for KCUR 89.3. Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig