NorthPoint presents proposal for Kingshighway in FPSE, starts engagement process

NorthPoint presents proposal for Kingshighway in FPSE, starts engagement process

NorthPoint Development of Kansas City and neighborhood residents Derek and Toni Zimmerman purchased the storied properties along Kingshighway in the Forest Park Southeast neighborhood from Lux Living, previously owned and neglected by Drury, last year. Their proposal brings new hope that something will finally happen to the prominent eyesore along Kingshighway that belies the massive investment into the neighborhood behind in recent decades. The plan includes a second building in the vacant land freed up by the reconfiguration of the I-64 and Kingshighway interchange. The architect is Rosemann & Associates.

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Dubbed “The Monarch” the proposal consists of two apartment buildings. Phase 1 sits on the property along Kingshighway between Oakland and Arco. It would be six stories and have 150 apartments from studios to two-bedrooms. Amenities include a swimming pool, fitness center, and the typical for developments of this size. Proposed are 157 parking spaces underground as well as on the ground floor with access from Kingshighway and Oakland. The number of spaces is in violation of the FPSE zoning code which allows a maximum of one per dwelling unit. They will need a variance. It would also need variances for primary materials, parapet walls, vertical plane breaking primary building façade, side setback 30’ minimum, alley setback 30’ minimum, finished ground floor level, alley encroachments, and parking access.

The amount of ground-level parking means the street level on all sides consists of stairwell exit doors, parking access, blank walls, and the leasing office. It appears people are meant to drive in and use the elevators. Or is there a ramp up from the ground level to the second level in the leasing office to access the elevators? Some clarification should come out in the scheduled neighborhood meetings.

Many units include balconies with views of Forest Park, beyond the noise and air pollution of Kingshighway and I-64 that is. Materials include brick, stucco, cementitious siding, and various metals in both louvers and accents.

No details of phase 2 were in the FPSE Development Review Committee meeting packet. Inferring from the project totals, it will have 178 apartments and 210 parking spaces again above the max permitted by zoning. The land is currently owned by Washington University. It appears Chouteau would be reconnected to the little street called S Kingshighway (not the big Kingshighway). Chouteau is two-way for cars. Washout the reconnection drivers would only have Arco to access the building. There isn’t a sidewalk in front of the building on the site plan. Hopefully that’s just a graphical oversight.

The total project cost is estimated to be $120M or an average of $366k per unit. About 10% of that is for parking. NorthPoint is under discussion with the SLDC about tax incentives. They hope to demolish the buildings in the spring and break ground in the third quarter. NorthPoint applied for demolition permits January 21st. Demolitions will requite review by CRO and likely consideration by the Preservation Board. Zoning variances would go before the Board of Adjustment.

NorthPoint is beginning its community engagement on Monday January 29th at a FPSE Development Review Cmte meeting. Three more meetings are scheduled. Neighborhood support will be critical to getting the variances and demolitions approved.

  • Monday, January 29, 6:30 pm at 4254 Vista Ave
  • Tuesday, February 20, 6:45 pm at 4254 Vista Ave
  • Tuesday, February 27, 6:30 pm at 4512 Manchester (if needed)
  • Tuesday, March 26, 6:30 pm at 4512 Manchester

The proposal is most welcome, especially in this high interest rate environment. The auto-orientation of phase 1 (and probably phase 2) is concerning. This is among the most walkable areas in the region and developments, especially here, shouldn’t encourage car dependency. A drive-to island fortress is inappropriate. Let’s hope some changes come out of the community engagement process.


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