Groundbreaking Held on $11 Million Apartments

4/10/2019 12:00:00 AM

Downtown KCK

Unified Government officials, neighborhood organizations, representatives from the Prairie Fire Development Group and Community Housing of Wyandotte County (CHWC, Inc.) all gathered at the corner of 8th and Washington Boulevard today to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new $11 million apartment community coming to downtown Kansas City, Kansas.

“This project is what we call a catalytic project because it’s going to catalyze this area- it’s going to change this area,” said Unified Government 4th District Commissioner Harold Johnson. “We plan to have a building standing here and hosting a grand opening of the Boulevard Lofts within eighteen months or less.”

Located along Washington Boulevard in the Douglass Sumner Neighborhood, Boulevard Lofts will be a unique and innovative project focusing on inclusivity, health and wellness and urban agriculture. 

“We have been working on this project for several years and are excited that we can finally start construction this summer,” says Kelley Hrabe, co-owner of Prairie Fire Development Group. 

According to Hrabe, Boulevard Lofts will integrate the “agricultural neighborhood” concept into the development, the first of its kind in Kansas City.  Agricultural Neighborhoods are organized communities that integrate agriculture into residential neighborhoods. The purpose of these communities is to facilitate food production while at the same time providing recreation for members of the community.  

“Although Boulevard Lofts won’t be a full-on agricultural neighborhood, it’s going to be much, much more than a community garden.  We will have a demonstration center to prepare food grown in the garden, an apiary for honey production and an onsite garden manager.  Our hope is that we can turn this into a community asset and educational tool for the surrounding neighborhood,” says Brennan Crawford, Executive Director of CHWC, Inc.
“I have seen firsthand the decline and disinvestment in this part of our community for some time now,” Unified government Commissioner Melissa Bynum said from the time she attended Sumner Academy. “In 2015, when I was elected to the Unified Government, it was a no brainer to join Commissioner Townsend and Commissioner Johnson and our UG staff to lay plans for a Northeast Area Master Plan. A plan to shape the destiny for this part of the plan. It’s a vision for families who will have a safe home here in the heart of Douglass Sumner.”

Boulevard Lofts will be constructed in the historic Douglass/Sumner neighborhood and will serve as a quality workforce housing option necessary in the continued growth and sustenance of the KCK downtown.  It will also be within the boundaries of the northeast area and serve as a catalytic project within the context of the recently UG adopted Northeast Area Master Plan.
One of the pillars of the master plan is “A Healthy Home”.  With its emphasis on urban agriculture the Boulevard Lofts will be present a unique and affordable housing option, the likes of which haven’t been seen in quite some time in the urban areas of KCK.  “I believe the project will serve as starting point for more housing and economic development in the northeast area of Wyandotte County.  It has been a long time coming but I am excited about the possibilities this project will bring to the 4th District, the northeast area and downtown KCK!”, says Johnson.
Boulevard Lofts is being financed with Affordable Housing Tax Credits from the Kansas Housing Resources Corporation and an economic development grant from the Board of Public Utilities.  Other partners include the Unified Government, M1 Bank, Boston Financial Investment Management, ODIMO Architecture, Vireo and Continental Consulting Engineers.

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