For lease: 44 loft
apartment units in the historic old Kansas City, Kan.,
City Hall building. Unique features such as old walk-in
safe vaults in 15 units, original hardwood flooring and
exposed brick. Some units have beautiful views of
Strawberry Hill and downtown Kansas City.
Who wouldn't want to live
While the new City Hall
Lofts are attractive to many, loft living is
not for everyone, according to John Harvey, executive
director of City Vision Ministries, the organization that
refurbished the building into apartments.
"We know exactly who are
demographic is," said Harvey. "Young singles, couples
without children or empty-nest singles."
The City Hall Lofts, in
the original City Hall building used by Kansas City, Kan.,
government from 1911 to the early 1970s, are true "New
York style lofts," with very open floor plans,
according to Harvey.
"The open floor plans don't
make an appealing choice for couples with children,"
The lofts officially
opened in late June for public viewing. The third and
fourth floors are now complete and ready for leasing. The
15 units on those floors, which include the $1,000-a-month
penthouse (the first unit officially rented), are now
available for occupancy. The market-rate units, accounting
for 40 percent of the building's units, have all been
leased, Harvey said. Units that helped the project qualify
for historic tax credits make up the rest of the building.
"We took quite a few
applications" in late June, said Barbara Lohr, director of
marking for Yarco Companies, the management firm hired to
lease and manage the building. "We're very excited because
we generated interest."
So far, advertising the
property has been limited to hanging a sign on the
building, advertising on a Web site and networking with
downtown businesses and government employees who might be
interested in moving closer to their place of work..
Prices for the loft
apartments range from $415 for a studio to $1,000 a month
for the two-bedroom penthouse. Pricing is a feature Lohr
said would help attract young singles or couples who are
in the beginning of their careers.
"I think we've generated a lot
of interest with workers downtown because we've showed
them that these are just not for people with a lot of
money," said Lohr.
Harvey said the lofts
are ranging on average from 65 cents to 70 cents per
square foot, while similar offerings across the state line
in downtown Kansas City range from $1 to $1.10 per square
"We've generated a lot of
interest from people in Johnson and Jackson counties as
well," said Harvey.
The lofts may not be
just for people with a lot of money, but all of the
lofts are upscale and many have historic features such
as the walk-in vault safes, original wood crown molding,
wood or tile floors and some have exposed brick walls. The
penthouse, which used to serve as the women's jail,
retained one of its jail doors.
The building is on the
register of historic places and many of the fixtures had
to be retained for tax credit incentives.
Although the penthouse suite
was rented to a middle-aged man, Lohr said, she expects a
mix of people in the building.
"We had one empty-nest couple
come through and they said they loved it, but they didn't
know where they would put 4,700 square feet of stuff they
have now," said Lohr. "It's a very unique concept to many
people in this part of the country, but it's a different
lifestyle and it's not for everyone."
It's not for people who like
to garden or who have hobby cars or like to tinker in
their garages, Harvey said.
However, the building does
have its own parking, which allows parking for one car per
resident for free; more spaces are available for a fee.
There is also visitor parking. The City Hall Lofts
will also feature a courtyard area. Residents are allowed
While some of the lofts
with some of the best views have been rented, there are
still about 30 left on the lower floors, which will be
ready for later occupancy.
The last unit to be renovated
will be the 3,500-square-foot space once used as the City
Council chambers. The unit will feature an upstairs
loft master suite looking down onto a living space
with an open floor plan. Estimated rent: $1,800-$2,000 a
month, with an option to purchase after a five-year lease.
This is the only unit planned to turn into a condominium