Expect to start seeing even more big changes on 63rd Street over the next few months.
Developer Butch Rigby says in the few weeks since tax abatements were approved for three buildings his development company owns on 63rd Street, renovations have already started and tenants are already signing up.
"I've been coming up and down this corridor for 35 years," said Rigby. "There will be more change in six months than there has been in 36 years."
There were small renovations already happening at the one-story brick building at 633 E. 63rd, but now Rigby says temporarily freezing property taxes there allows plans for adding a second floor and providing bigger renovations to spaces already leased.
Kathy Hale's space will get a bigger indoor-outdoor window area for the organic carryout restaurant she hopes to open.
"I'm gonna have a 'healthy belly bar' here which is gonna feature teas, kombucha," said Hale as she walked around the space under construction.
She says she has been waiting months to start renovating the space and move in. 'It was like wait, wait, wait, run!" she said. "This is my neighborhood I grew up in and so I love the revitalizing of this street."
The City Council approved the 63rd Street Corridor Planned Industrial Expansion Authority (PIEA) general development plan on Jan. 28. It extends along 63rd Street roughly from Oak to Troost. The PIEA board approved tax abatements for the three buildings Rigby's development partnership owns on Feb. 18.
Along with adding a second floor to 633 E. 63rd, Rigby says plans to remove the facade of the three-story building next door. That will move forward in the next two weeks. Replacing the brick exterior with a new glass skin will take around eight weeks to complete. Rigby says four leases have been signed for that building in just the last three weeks. He credits at least one of those with the promised renovations.
Another building west of that will get major renovations as well. Rigby says he and his development partner are investing an estimated $5 million total on 63rd Street with the more extensive renovation plans.
Hale hopes her restaurant will be up and running as early as mid-summer. A home goods store with renovations already well underway could open by the end of this month.
Lindsay Shively can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.