KCUR wrote an interesting article in August of last year, of how apparently West Bottoms is Vibrant. I still think the area is still a long ways from becoming “vibrant” however, it does seem as if it is in an upward movement especially with new ‘Artist Funky’ Lofts.
Perhaps the future of Kemper Arena will add some value to the West Bottoms, especially if Kansas City allows a developer to have free rein on the property. I see potential in the Stockyards but not necessarily multifamily potential, i’m not really down with living in a potential flood area and a minimum security prison.
I think this post from KCrag Forum best breaks down the reasons why residential housing in the West Bottoms will not work.
The WB has a plethora of issues that have kept it from becoming an area of intense redevelopment:
-Train traffic/whistles as noted by Staubio
-Heavy industrial zoning. There are very few places in the city where these types of businesses can operate and even fewer options in the heart of the metro area.
-Volume of Buildings. A developer could go in and develop 300 units of housing (size of Market Station going up in the RM, at $45mil) and still not make a dent on the neighborhood. Those buildings are so massive and numerous they amount to several millions of square feet. It’s going to take a really big developer, or perhaps a consortium of big dogs to have a meaningful impact and to have the ability to fund such an endeavor.
-Protective Self-Interests. There are several large property owners in the WB who do not want to see residential come to the area out of fear that the new neighbors will complain about and hinder their operations. These include industrial users and haunted house operators.
The current threat to the future of this historic building stock, besides fire, is the possibility that the state of Missouri will reduce or eliminate tax credits. The state historic tax credit program and low to moderate housing credits are under fire in the Missouri Senate and there are rural interests that want to end these programs.
Maybe it should be left as a speciality entertainment district, lets also not forget the substantial amount of industrial real businesses currently operating in the area.
To be continued..