Long-debated row of Midtown apartment buildings may be torn down

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Classic could make way for contemporary on West Armour Blvd. between Baltimore and Wyandotte. That's where a whole block of historic but abandoned apartments could be torn down.

"We're looking to design the building in a way that compliments its neighbors," said Peter Cassel, community development director for MAC Property Group, which wants to build a 40-unit modern-looking apartment building.

Neighbors in the Old Hyde Park neighborhood worry the block-long building will clash with its classic surroundings. Many want to see the current buildings rehabilitated.

"There's no doubt that it would be far preferable to preserve these buildings," Cassel said.

MAC has a history to prove it. Over the past seven years, Cassel said the company has rehabilitated a total of 1,500 Midtown units.

MAC bought the four buildings five years ago right before the recession. After the economy took a hit, Cassel said MAC couldn't find financing.

Last fall, MAC proposed tearing the buildings down and putting in a parking lot. Upset neighbors put a stop to that.

"We want these buildings restored. We feel this is a gateway into our community," Old Hyde Park Historic District president Martin Phillips said.

MAC then said it would give the property away to the right developer with a fully-financed plan. Cassel said no offers came, so they moved forward with the current plan.

Phillips said MAC only gave developers a month to come forward, which he believes is not enough time.

"We felt like we needed 2-3 months for someone to put together a viable plan like they were asking for," Phillips said.

Around the corner, Brad Menger said his whole block of Wyandotte used to look like the Armour properties. Today, it's completely revitalized which is why Menger thinks MAC needs to wait before bringing in the bulldozer.

"We think that there's obviously going to be some viable individual that will come forward with the money," Menger said. "We'll see a beautiful block someday."

MAC will meet with neighbors at a meeting hosted at MainCor offices Wednesday at 7 p.m. The project goes before this Historic Preservation Commission on Sept. 27.

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