Council moves toward approval of two new Midtown CIDs

Work has begun at 51st and Main, where a mixed-used apartment and retail development is under construction. The city council expressed preliminary approval for a CID for the project there and another one on the site of the former West Edge project.

The city council on Thursday took the first step in approving community improvement districts for two major plaza developments.

Councilmembers voted to create CID ordinances for an apartment project at 51st and Main streets and for the Plaza Vista project, which used to be the disastrous West Edge project.

Meanwhile, foundation work started this week on the project at the northwest corner of 51st and Main streets. The six-story building with 176 expensive apartments and 8,500 square feet of ground-level retail is to be done by fall of next year.

The developer for both Plaza projects is VanTrust Real Estate.  Jeff Dillon, development director, told the council that the 51st Street project would include one or two restaurants on the ground level.

Under the CID, diners and retail customers there will pay an extra 1-cent sales tax for 30 years. The money will help pay for infrastructure improvements for the infill development.

As for Plaza Vista, a 10-story, 250,000 square foot building that includes up to 20,000 feet of retail will accompany a 132-room hotel plus an underground parking garage.

That project is expected to be occupied and open by November, Dillon said. It will be headquarters for the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart PC.

Ad agency Bernstein-Rein was originally going to move into what was called the West Edge project but fell out with the former developer and JE Dunn, the general contractor. An office building stalled and sat empty for three years.

Two years ago, demolition started on that building to replace it with the new project.

At the Thursday council meeting, Mayor Sly James told Dillon that VanTrust solved a major city problem and “I have a certain amount of affection for this project.
He also said a CID agreement “was part of the deal from the beginning.” The CID ordinances for the two projects now go to committee and to the city council for final approval.

James also encouraged VanTrust to do other projects, and said he’d like to talk to them about doing some east of Troost.

Glad to talk, Dillon said.

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