Housing. Renovations to the Pendleton Flats housing complex are scheduled to begin at the end of October. Paul Thompson

By Paul Thompson
Northeast News
October 26, 2016
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Just over a year after the Housing Authority of Kansas City earned a $30 million Choice Neighborhoods grant that will help make the Paseo Gateway transformation a reality, the pieces of the plan are starting to come together. For now, that means solving the housing issues created by the project.
The ambitious plan to revitalize the Paseo Gateway area and increase the flow of traffic between the Historic Northeast and downtown Kansas City depends upon the razing of the Chouteau Courts housing project at 1220 Independence Avenue. Roughly 120 units of the housing project are currently occupied, and each of the tenants will need to be relocated before the razing and subsequent re-use can proceed. In total, the Housing Authority has made plans to relocate more than 100 tenants to five mostly mixed-income facilities throughout the city. Rose Hill Townhomes will be expected to house 33 low-income units; Pendleton Flats will host 10 low-income units; Century Apartments and Townhomes would welcome 28 low-income units; and Pendleton ArtsBlock would house 14. Some 25 low-income units have yet to be announced.
The Rose Hill Townhomes development at Admiral and Troost is the closest to being move-in ready, with a completion date in early November. Nineteen applications have already been approved for qualified Chouteau Courts residents.
“Initially, we will have about 23 families moving there,” said John Monroe, Director of Planning and Development for the Paseo Gateway Project. “Long range, that will be permanent housing for formerly homeless families.”
From there, the renovated Pendleton Flats development off of Independence Avenue and Brooklyn is expected to break ground on October 30. Meanwhile, preliminary financing commitments have been obtained for Century Apartments and Townhomes (9th and Flora, 9th and Woodland respectively) and Pendleton ArtsBlock (Independence Ave. and Park), which is expected to become an incubator for local artists.
Monroe noted that 60% of all Chouteau Courts residents will be relocated within the Paseo Gateway area. He added that the Housing Authority has seen great support from the Northeast regarding the new housing development planned for Pendleton Flats, which has long been a problem property.
“We’re really happy, and we’ve had tremendous community support for Pendleton Flats,” said Monroe. “It’s right across the street from SVN School, to the east. It’s a group of 30 apartments that wasn’t managed well, and it changed owners several times.”
Although the Housing Authority turned in four tax credit applications for development projects on September 6, that doesn’t guarantee that those projects will proceed. In fact, residents from the Northland expressed enough concern about the plans for the Maple Corners housing development (NE 48th St. and Randolph) that project leaders felt compelled to withdraw their tax credit application. In a letter dated Monday, October 24, City Manager Troy Schulte, Housing Authority of Kansas City Executive Director Edwin Lowndes, and David Brint of lead developer Brinshore Development, LLC withdrew the tax credit application for Maple Corners, citing “substantial community input and inquiries since the first community meeting was held prior to the application submission.” The letter further states that a broader planning effort is currently being put together to evaluate potential replacement sites in North Kansas City.
First District City Councilwoman Heather Hall warned last week that members of the Northland community had spoken out against the new mixed-used development. Some of the concerns included a lack of infrastructure in the surrounding community, the substantial distance from the proposed site to crucial services like grocery stores and health centers, the lack of public transportation during weekends and a general hesitancy to support additional low-income developments in the Northland.
“It’s come to my awareness that the community is not for it in this present form,” said Hall.
Fellow 1st District Councilman and Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner echoed similar sentiments while discussing recent conversations with his constituents,  adding that a petition had been signed by thousands of area residents declaring their steadfast opposition to the Maple Corners development.
“The community around it feels like they are getting, essentially, more housing that they find undesirable,” said Wagner. “A lot of people seem to think that the Maple Corners project is just going to happen. We are nowhere near that.”
Monroe contends that many of the objections to the Maple Corners development stem from a lack of understanding of what kinds of projects the Housing Authority designs in 2016. The proposed development plan for the Maple Corners site had included 90 total apartments: 30 would have been low-income, 30 would have been market-rate, and 30 were  to be for low-income tax credit units restricted to those earning 60% of Kansas City’s median income.
“People don’t understand what we do,” said Monroe. “They think it’s the old-style public housing, and we don’t do that anymore. We do mixed-income housing, and it looks just like market-rate housing.”
Even so, the Housing Authority will now be looking for more suitable locations for a potential mixed-use housing development in the Northland. Meanwhile, Hall says that she’ll continue to work with the developers on ways to make the project more palatable to her constituents. She’s proposed a plan to spread the relocated Chouteau Courts tenants between each of the city’s six districts, but if the project is destined for the Northland, she’d like to see the development become less dense.
“If this is the location, then let’s make it be the right location for everyone involved,” said Hall. “People didn’t elect me to not work together as a group.”


Gateway. A map of the housing projects within the Paseo Gateway area; Below a breakdown of low-income units at each of the developments. Courtesy of Housing Authority