MAC Properties presents new plans, but neighbors skip meeting

Architects showed a new design concept for two apartment buildings MAC Property wants to build on Armour Bouelvard this week. The Old Hyde Park neighborhood opposes demolition of the current buildings on the site, but MAC is asking the city for permission to demolish them and build new market-rate apartments.

By Mary Jo Draper

MAC Property Management and its architects for two proposed apartments at 100-118 Armour presented updated drawings Wednesday, but to a room empty of neighbors.

MAC, the development company that has fixed up multiple buildings on Armour Boulevard, says it can’t make rehabbing the four buildings work financially. MAC is asking permission from the city Landmarks Commission to demolish the buildings and put up two new market-rate apartment buildings instead.

The Old Hyde Park neighborhood is upset that MAC pulled the plug on an offer to give the buildings away to any developer who had a viable plan to restore them. The neighborhood has formed a group called “Save our Armour” hoping to convince the Landmarks Commission to deny the request for demolition.

So when MAC and its architect planned last night’s meeting to get additional input on its plans, Old Hyde Park President Marty Phillips asked for the meeting to be postponed until after a hearing Sept. 27 at the Landmarks Commission, where the commission will decide whether or not to approve demolition.

As Phillips explained in an email, the neighborhood wants to see the four buildings saved from demolition and restored to their original appearance, but discussing the appearance of a potential new building right now is “putting the cart before the horse.”

“Our first priority is stopping the demolition and allowing this property to be restored as MAC Properties originally said they would. The decision to allow 40 three-bedroom units and neighborhood input to review its design should come later, if demolition is allowed. We would then need time to review and discuss the size of their proposal and the parking requirements, before the design can be established. Once the scope of the project is agreed to, we can spend time concerning the exterior design ideas and get more involved in that process,” he said yesterday.

Meanwhile at the meeting on Wednesday, MAC’s Peter Cassel said the newest drawings are a response to neighborhood input at a July meeting. The new design continues to include 40 apartments in two buildings, and fits the character of the historic boulevard, he said.

“In some ways it looks absolutely contemporary but you see the echoes of Kansas City’s historic palette,” Cassel said.

Architect Matthew Hufft said the biggest change is the addition of porches and balconies, and the moving of most of the entrances to face Armour.

At the Sept. 27 meeting, the Landmarks Commission will first be asked to approve demolition of the properties. Cassel said if that permission is granted, MAC will ask for approval on schematic plans for the new buildings at that meeting.

If demolition is denied, under Kansas City rules MAC would need to wait three years before it could demolish the buildings.

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