New apartments at 29th and Gillham continue Midtown redevelopment

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A historic area of Midtown once home to auto dealers and services is coming alive again with newly-built apartments, including a just-completed new building at 29th and Gillham.

Half of the 22 units at Twenty9 Gillham built by developers John Hoffman and Lance Carlton of UC-B Properties are already leased. Hoffman says that’s not surprising.  In the current strong rental market, he sees many people interested in moving back to the urban core if they can find good quality homes.

“People want to come back to mature neighborhoods with trees and parks and homes that have been restored,” Hoffman says.

Balconies at Twenty9 Gillham offer views of downtown, Crown Center and Union Cemetery.

Balconies at Twenty9 Gillham offer views of downtown, Crown Center and Union Cemetery.

The Longfellow neighborhood, one of the areas Hoffman has been helping to redevelop, fits the bill. The new apartments lie just north of the Filling Station, a popular coffee shop at 30th and Gillham that Hoffman helped to establish. And they’re across the street from the restored Greenlease Cadillac Lofts, once the home of a famous Kansas City auto dealer and restored as lofts in 2006.

Greenlease used the block where Twenty9 Gillham now sits as an overflow and used car lot, and later Hallmark used it as a parking area. For many years, the area was home to auto-related businesses such as service and repair shops.

“This neighborhood was the first automobile neighborhood in the city,” Hoffman says.

But the Longfellow neighborhood was also conveniently located, and appealed to doctors, lawyers and people who worked downtown. General Hospital sat just to the north and Providence St. Mary’s Hospital stood where the Federal Reserve Building is today.

It is the type of strong urban neighborhood that most appeals to Hoffman’s company.

“We as developers are not interested in building quantity. We are interested in rebuilding urban core neighborhoods that were vital in the past,” he says.

Twenty9 Gillham joins Hoffman’s other Longfellow developments, 30 Gillham Row, Battery Lofts, Triangle Townhomes and Cherry Hill Row. He’s also done projects on Gillham Road in Hyde Park and is working on apartments at 63rd and Holmes in Brookside and between 53rd and 55th on Troost.

Although the new apartments are in an historic neighborhood, Hoffman says his model is to reference the past but not mimic it.

First floor units could function as live/work spaces for small businesses or service providers.

First floor units could function as live/work spaces for small businesses or service providers.

“We want to mimic the way buildings were, but we don’t want our redevelopment to look like Zona Rosa or Vail, Colorado.” He says, for example, Twenty9 Gilliam offers large picture windows and balconies that would not be available in historic buildings.

One bedroom apartments in the new building rent for $1025 with two-bedroom, two-bath units going for $1500-$1600. Twenty9 Gillham also offers one-bedroom live/work units on the first floor, which Hoffman sees as a trend of the future.

“Say you’re an architect or a writer or an IT person. Your clients can come right in at ground level. The front part of your apartment could be a small art gallery.”

(For information about leasing Twenty9 Gillham, contact Amy Carlson at 816-535-1065.)


  1. john hoffman says:

    Thank you for the well written article. It’s nice to know there are like minded people in midtown who feel the same way Lance and I do about the history of the area and believe in quality growth.

  2. Brad says:

    I love what has been happening in that corridor with the strong exception of this particular building. It looks cheaply built compared to the new buildings across the way on the west side of the street in that locale. It has a cardboard box quality to it and mimics the style of “no-tell” motels that still unfortunately grace the top of the intersection of Independence Avenue and Paseo Blvd. My guess is the future blight of that neighborhood will begin in these buildings as they have a spiritless austerity of features reminiscent of mid-century section-8 dwellings.

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