Port KC plans to provide incentives for EPC's $90M apartment project in Waldo

The Port Authority of Kansas City will extend its incentive offerings into Waldo in support of a $90.3 million mixed-use apartment complex after another local agency did not seal the deal.

Port commissioners on Monday approved an expression of intent to provide a 20-year property tax exemption for EPC Real Estate Group LLC’s 74 Broadway proposal. The plan entails a six-story, 278-apartment community with 17,636 retail square feet on a full block southeast of Broadway and 74th streets.

The 2.7-acre site now houses surface parking, Wonderful Waldo Car Wash and The Well restaurant, the latter of which would reopen in a new two-level space in the future complex.

74 Broadway

Contingent on future Port KC approvals, EPC could break ground on 74 Broadway by the spring.

BRR Architecture Inc.

EPC had pursued redevelopment of the block for close to two years. Its 74 Broadway proposal surfaced publicly in September, during an incentive application through the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s START program. The City Plan Commission also signed off on its project plan in November.

In January, the KCATA expressed intent to provide a 15-year property tax exemption for a larger 296-unit plan but never put the incentive up for final approval, amid a push for the START program to target affordable housing projects. In June, the KCATA dissolved the RideKC Development Corp., which first recommended 74 Broadway’s request.

74 Broadway

74 Broadway would encompass a full block, in place of The Well restaurant and Wonderful Waldo Car Wash southeast of Broadway and 74th streets.

BRR Architecture Inc.

New from that version, under Port KC, EPC agreed to set aside 56 units, or 20% of 74 Broadway’s total, as affordable for renters earning up to 60% of the area’s median family income (MFI), in line with the city’s affordable housing set-aside policy. Waldo residents had expressed concerns about a lack of dedicated affordable units in neighborhood meetings EPC had held for 74 Broadway since September.

74 Broadway

Port KC commissioners approved an expression of intent to provide a 20-year property tax exemption for 74 Broadway.

BRR Architecture Inc.

Port KC CEO Jon Stephens said Monday that the new units would meet a “clear need” in Waldo while enhancing the land use for an obsolete neighborhood block. However, several public speakers during the meeting disputed whether the monthly rents, between $1,098 for a studio and $1,412 for a two-bedroom under 2023 federal standards, equated to affordable housing.

“To say that (60% MFI is) affordable for me and my colleagues, it’s not; that is incredibly expensive on a teacher salary,” Elizabeth Warwick, a Kansas City Public Schools teacher and Waldo resident, said during the port’s meeting.

74 Broadway

This visual depicts the leasing area entry for EPC’s 278-unit 74 Broadway project.

BRR Architecture Inc.

Other speakers renewed concerns with 74 Broadway’s parking plans and incentives request, including how the former stood to contribute to the latter. Several asked Port KC to table the request so EPC could hold more meetings with neighbors. A KCPS representative said Monday that the district had been able to connect with the developer but had not received project materials from Port KC until the Friday before.

“If being a transit-oriented development project makes (74 Broadway) worthy of public subsidies, then public subsidy should not be used to help build an expensive parking garage,” Kathleen Pointer, senior policy strategist with KCPS, said Monday.

74 Broadway

This rendering shows a west perspective of the 17,636-square-foot ground-floor commercial space at 74 Broadway.

BRR Architecture Inc.

EPC’s project includes a 364-space garage, with a 1-to-1 parking ratio for apartments, according to Port KC materials. Austin Bradley, vice president of development at EPC, said the builder has seen residents use 90% to 95% of garage spaces in its other multifamily projects. Additional spaces in 74 Broadway’s garage would be allocated for public retail parking, on top of new street parking spaces abutting the property.

Five bus lines serve the 74 Broadway site, including the Main MAX line, and it sits at a key stop along the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail. EPC’s project also is designed to support alternative forms of transportation, with electric vehicle charging stations and new BikeWalkKC facilities.

On the incentive side, the 20-year property tax exemption for 74 Broadway would start at 90% for the first five years, before stair-stepping down to 75% between years six and 10, 50% from years 11 through 15, and 25% for the final five years. By comparison, KCATA had contemplated a 15-year exemption at a flat 75%. The apartment complex also will receive a sales tax exemption on construction materials.

Port KC estimated its exemption’s value at $10.6 million over 20 years, during which affected taxing jurisdictions would be paid $8.45 million, up from a projected $1 million from the property as is.

EPC could execute development and incentive compliance agreements for 74 Broadway in the fall, according to a presented timeline. From there, it could break ground by the spring and finish after two years of construction.

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