By Jill Draper
A St. Louis-based developer would like to demolish an old stone church at 9201 Wornall Rd. and build a 98-unit apartment complex on the 4.7-acre site. The proposal goes before the Kansas City Plan Commission on May 21. The complex would include three buildings with a pool, clubhouse, exercise facility, game room and dog park.
The site is the same one where Coach’s Bar & Grill considered relocating after repeated flooding closed its home in a strip mall at the northwest corner of 103rd Street and Wornall Road. Neighbors objected to the idea of a bar near their houses and now they have concerns about the latest proposal.
According to K. B. and Carol Winterowd, who live about one-half mile away from the former All Saints Episcopal Church property, some residents are worried about how close the apartment complex would be (about 23 feet, they say) to an unnamed creek to the north. They’re also worried about possible traffic issues from vehicles driving in and out of a single entrance.
“Going north on Wornall will not be a problem,” says Carol, who serves on the Center Planning and Development Council, an umbrella group of homes and neighborhood associations in the area. “But it’s different going south, certainly during rush hour.” The site is just north of the intersection of Ward Parkway and Wornall and the Burns & McDonnell office complex.
Rod Jones of JPL Development LLC says he is working on addressing some of the neighbors’ concerns and he is also making various changes requested by city planners. He says the apartments are being redesigned with flat rather than pitched roofs and with new architectural features such as stone and brick accents.
“It’s a whole new look we’re proposing,” says Jones, who notes the complex would be similar, though smaller, to projects his company has built in Denver and Nashville. He adds that the apartments would rent at market rates and that his company is not asking for any incentives. If the apartments are approved, he’ll take bids for the church’s demolition, which probably would involve recycling the stones. He hopes to receive all approvals and permits by the end of the year, with construction starting in January or February and finishing in late summer or early fall of 2020.
Jones recalls living in Kansas City in the 1980s when he worked downtown for a commercial real estate firm. Now, some 30 years later, he’s attracted to the employment growth in the area, describing the property as “a great infill site that’s underserved.”
The Winterowds point out that the 98-unit complex would have a higher density than what is set out in the city’s Red Bridge Area Plan. “On a positive note, the plan does call for residential use,” says Carol. “Just not that dense.”