The Fashionbilt Lofts
The Fashionbilt Lofts is a proposed reuse and rehab of the existing 6.5 story, 77,551 rentable square foot Fashionbilt Office Building to residential rental living and the new construction of a complementary 10-story residential tower, to the east, to create a first class, sustainable multifamily community at 423 W. 8th Street, Kansas City, MO. The building is on the National Historic Register and contemplates the use of Federal and State Historic Rehab credits on the building rehab. The site is along the Broadway Corridor on downtown KC’s Quality Hill/Garment District neighborhood. DST Realty rehabbed this building in 1997 for their own office use; it is in immaculate condition. Concrete columns with wood ceiling/floor trusses were beautifully restored. The views on the top floor of the existing building are spectacular of downtown and the Downtown Airport. The view from the new tower to the south will be gorgeous with the greenery of Quality Hill’s streetscapes and the Catholic Diocese gold dome in the near horizon.
Plentiful restaurants, bars and employers abound in the immediate area. Within one block, Google, State Street Advisors, and the new relocation from Washington, D.C. of up to 500 employees to the new USDA office space across Washington Street are amongst just a few of the multiple employers in and around KC’s CBD. A number of apartments have gone up in the immediate area over the last 20 years and are all very well occupied. Access is excellent via I-35 and I-70. It is only 8 blocks from the popular Power & Light Entertainment District. It is 8 blocks from the Main Street (Light Rail) Streetcar and one block from the Ermine Case Park with its overwhelming view looking west over the West River Bluff and an excellent area for a walk. New product in Quality Hill has leased very rapidly, including Cityscape’s Summit and Apex projects in the neighborhood.
The development will meet so many of the early goals being set by ImagineKC, a Downtown Council initiative, as described below:
- Green Line promotion and activation (Ermine Case Park and the land along the West Loop).
- Bicycle parking and lanes.
- Activation of 8th St. Plaza with people and activities including Art in The Loop partnering.
- Updated and improved green streetscape.
- Entrepreneurship promotion with in-house workspaces and networking.
- Support the activation of East-West connection of 8th Street through Downtown.
- Maintain a portion of garage as public parking, which is in short supply.
- Contain outdoor spaces such as in project plazas and balconies to create healthy living and mitigate covid spread.
- Enable and promote nearby businesses by adding over 300 residents to the area without any impact on parking since plentiful parking on site. All restaurants and bars need a shot in the arm with covid and more pandemics to come.
- Efficiently and sustainably re-use a vacant office building as residential living for those at nearby employers, especially the adjacent USDA who is adding up to 500 jobs.
Upon completion, the project will offer a total of 222 multifamily living units with 98 units in the existing building (adjacent to one-half of the 3-level garage) and a 10-story, 124-unit structure on the east side of the block where the garage will be razed. The garage will still have over 250 spaces for tenant use. A small community room with theater area (that already exists) will be on the top floor of the existing building.
Between the new building and the existing, the development will have a plaza with an outdoor pool, lounges, shade sails and festoon lighting at grade with the top level of the existing garage but on top of the new portion of the garage that is part of the new building. A turfed area will be on the deck for outdoor yoga and a covered outdoor kitchen for dining and entertainment.
The leasing office, fitness room and the large community room will be in the new tower at the back of the building’s concrete stepped-up entrance off of Bank Street. There will be high-end glassed areas open to the pool deck. Both the fitness and the community room will also have direct access to the deck. We will have loft 1BRs in the new tower at grade with 8th Street. At the 8th Street level, below the lofts, we have roughly 5000 of commercial space with ground to floor glass with a remainder of space for storage or low-visibility commercial use under the south portion of the tower without windows. There will be two top levels on the new tower set off from the roof edge that will have both unit outdoor seating areas and a community seating area for the amazing views.
The City allows the proposed use. The property is zoned DC-15 for the contemplated use. However, a re-zoning to Urban Redevelopment (UR) is preferred for better design, planning and necessary for tax abatement. The re-zoning and site plan approval have been applied for.
The units will have high-end appliances, 9 foot ceilings or higher, in-unit washer/dryers, ceiling fans, and central heat/air conditioning, balconies on the new building and back of the existing building. The renovation and new construction will extend the economic viability of the building and will complement the surrounding neighborhood in its appearance and utility.
The units will be offered at approximately the following rental rates:
These rents are at rents that are achievable based on the high incomes of the workers in the area and in keeping with the comparable luxury rents in the area. The latest reports have the overall vacancy in downtown and midtown at roughly 5% with rent growth in the 1.5-3% range, depending upon the most recent year.
Project costs will total approximately $57 million dollars, to be made possible by the equity generated from the sale of Federal Historic Tax Credits, owner’s equity and a permanent/construction loan from the private lender/investor. The project developer is Garrison L. Hassenflu. Mr. Hassenflu is Managing Member of MW Development Enterprises, LLC, the development entity. He is also President of Garrison Management Company, the property’s property manager. These companies along with other affiliated companies make up the umbrella entity, Garrison and MW Companies (www.garrisoncompanies.com). He has over twenty five years of experience in development, having developed over $140,000,000 in affordable and mixed income living units totaling over 1300 units. Currently, he has a portfolio of 400 units from the sale of most of his portfolio of projects over time. His work has received national acclaim from the National Housing and Rehab Association.
The project will be designed by Clockwork Architecture, Kansas City, MO, and constructed by a local general contractor. Work has begun by MacRostie Historic Advisors on the Part 1 Certification. We expect approval of our application for the State Historic Tax Credit in late October, 2021.
We expect a February 28, 2022 construction start with a July 15, 2023 completion. We expect absorption of 25 units per month, which is comparable to other sub-market lease-ups, and is late enough that any Covid-19 impact is extremely limited.