Old Hyde Park seeks developer to save block

The owner of this block of Armour Boulevard, from Baltimore to Wyandotte, proposes to tear down this large apartment and three smaller buildings and build a parking lot. The owner, MAC Properties, has recently renovated nearby buildings and said this block is not economically viable. But the residents of the neighborhood said they are on a mission to find someone to redevelop the properties and maintain the historic integrity of Armour.

Residents of the Old Hyde Park neighborhood are optimistic that several historic buildings on Armour Boulevard can be renovated rather than being turned into a parking lot.

The push to find a developer began last week when a developer that has renovated 20 properties along Armour Boulevard told Old Hyde Park residents it wanted to tear down four buildings to create additional parking. The large apartment building and three duplexes are on the north side of Armour between Baltimore and Wyandotte.

MAC Properties has completed the historic renovation of 800 apartments on Armour and is working on another 400 units.

One of the smaller apartments.

The parking would serve the 54 units at the Del Monte Apartments, 200 W. Armour, and the 54 soon-to-open units at the Westport Central, 301 Armour. Both buildings, as well as many others along Armour, were built without any parking.

According to a statement from Peter Cassel, director of Community Development for the Silliman Group, the developer for MAC Properties, the company doesn’t believe the rental market for the buildings would cover the cost of renovation.

“We have spent an extended period of time evaluating ways to make the buildings feasible and have looked at potential development subsidies including historic tax credits (state and federal), local tax abatements, grants from the City of Kansas City and tax exempt bond financing,” Cassel said in the statement.

The properties are part of the Old Hyde Park Historic District designated by the city, meaning that either the city would have to give approval or MAC would need to wait three years before doing demolition. City Landmarks administrator Bradley Wolf confirms that MAC Properties has filed paperwork with the city asking to demolish the properties, saying their redevelopment would present an economic hardship.

Detail of the large apartment.

But Cassel told Old Hyde Park residents at a meeting last week the owners would consider offers from developers who thought they could save the buildings “at any price.”

“We share the desire of the neighborhood to save the deteriorated buildings at 100-118 West Armour. As evidence of this desire we placed them on the market without an asking price,” Cassel said. He confirmed that the buildings could be sold for a very low price or even given away to the right developer.

Old Hyde Park president Marty Phillips said after the meeting that the neighborhood immediately began looking for a developer.

“We are thankful to MAC that they have come to Kansas City and done some good things on Armour,” he said. “But we want to save these buildings and find someone to restore them. They are the gems of Armour.”

Old Hyde Park resident Brad Menger said West Armour Boulevard (west of Main Street) has lost of a lot of buildings, but it’s now on the verge of coming back to its previous glory. He said it is important to preserve the streetscape and the unique buildings.

“The demolition would destroy this part of Armour,” he said. “ It’s the best of what we have.”

Amanda Crawley of the Historic Kansas City Foundation said her group is working with the neighborhood to find a developer to save the property. Menger said yesterday he has been talking with an experienced developer who is very interested in taking on the project.

Cassel said that if the block does not become a parking area, residents of the two buildings will most likely park on neighborhood streets.