KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The rehab of four warehouses in the West Bottoms is set to start in the next 30 days; they'll be turned into a parking garage and 265 apartments called the West Bottoms Flats.
City leaders believe the district could look totally different in five to ten years.
Construction on these apartments should be done by the end of 2019.
"We're in that point of growing. There are more jobs in the market, more living, just to make an economy better for all of us," said John C. Smith, co-owner and chef at EJ's Urban Eatery, a restaurant across the street from the planned redevelopment.
MCM Company is planning the rehab near 9th and Wyoming at the Liberty, the Wyoming and one of the Abernathy buildings. The Bermis will become a parking garage with more than 200 spaces.
Smith believes the West Bottoms Flats could bring new life to the area.
"Our motto is food brings people together. We want people to know living across the street or down the street they can come here and meet some new people," said Smith.
That's true for Leola Smith who came to the West Bottoms just to eat at the Golden Ox restaurant, that re-opened about a month ago.
She's lived in Kansas City for 60 years and used to eat there with her boss.
"It was the highlight of Kansas City," said Leola Smith, who said she liked the idea of redeveloping the old warehouses.
She remembers the buildings in the West Bottoms Flats project, formerly as the Abernathy Furniture Company and the Bemis Bag Company.
"Well, I think it's improved," Smith said. "It's been sitting there doing nothing. So I think with the apartments will be great."
The $68 million project comes with $13 million in state historic tax credits.
MCM Company's Melissa Ferchill said they will have a 15-year tax abatement. 10 of those years will be at 100 percent, followed by five with 50 percent abatement.
MCM is using a local workforce comprised of architect BNIM and Rau Construction.
The West Bottom Flats will include studio, one and two bedroom units and some live/work spaces for artists or small shops.
There are other amenities like an outdoor theater, gym, courtyards and a light wall - all in hopes of making the West Bottoms feel more like home.
"They just made us feel wanted and that made us want to come down here more," said Smith.