Stalled Prairiefire project finally sparks to life

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Prairiefire is a flurry of activity – from the beeps and hums of construction crews to those putting the finishing touches on the Museum at Prairiefire.

This weekend marks the grand opening celebration of the 60-acre mixed-use development in Overland Park, a project that took years to build and stalled during the recession.

“It’s been quite a journey,” said Fred Merrill Jr., president of Merrill Cos. LLC, which developed Prairiefire. “We started back in 2006 … we came up with what we thought was a pretty good plan, and then the recession hit. So, all bets were off.”

As the financing market and retail world came to a “grinding halt,” so did Prairiefire, he said.

Read the full article at the Kansas City Business Journal.

Downtown apartment proposals from Indianapolis developer clear first bureaucratic hurdle

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An Indianapolis developer cleared the first bureaucratic hurdle Friday to his plan to build 661 new downtown apartments.

Jim Thomas of Cityscape Residential won approval from the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority to begin the process necessary to seek a tax abatement to help finance two projects totaling 386 apartments in the Quality Hill area and a 275-unit project proposed for Crossroads West near Southwest Boulevard and Interstate 35.

The developer will seek a 25-year abatement on the increased value of the improvements, 100 percent for 10 years and 50 percent for the remaining 15 years, to help finance the projects. The taxes currently generated by the properties would continue to be paid. The total cost of the investment is estimated at $125 million.

Though the expansion authority board is not expected to take up the request for incentives until early summer, the subject did come up at the meeting.

Thomas has developed apartments in downtown Indianapolis and Louisville, Ky., and is building apartments in the Prairiefire development in Overland Park. He said even with the property tax abatement, his proposed downtown projects will yield only 80 percent of the return compared with his other developments.

“I have zero doubt the final analysis from the consultant will prove our numbers,” he told board members.

Read the full article at The Kansas City Star.

PIEA advances $125M worth of downtown apartments

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The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority board voted unanimously to advance three proposed downtown apartment projects seeking 25-year property tax abatements.

The projects, including two in the Quality Hill area and one near Interstate 35 and Southwest Boulevard, would total 661 units and about $125 million in construction.

The developer, Jim Thomas of Indianapolis-based Cityscape Residential, has developed $350 million worth of multifamily projects in the Kansas City metropolitan area over the past 20 years and is currently working on a 428-unit apartment project in Overland Park’s Prairiefire development.

Thomas, who originally is from Raytown, said he had wanted to develop in the downtown area for years and that the scale of the three projects proposed finally will allow him to attract the investment capital to do so.

Read the full article at the Kansas City Business Journal.

Developer plans 661 apartment units in downtown KC

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A developer plans apartment projects in the Quality Hill and Crossroads West areas that would add a total of 661 units to Kansas City, The Kansas City Star reports.

Jim Thomas with Cityscape Residential proposes a six-story complex with 275 luxury apartments in the Crossroads West area, new 23rd and Jefferson streets. Two projects, with 130 and 256 units, are planned for the Quality Hill area, overlooking the West Bottoms.

Thomas, who grew up in Raytown, estimates total construction costs at $125 million. He will ask the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority on Friday for a 25-year tax abatement for the projects, The Star reports.

Original article here.

New luxury apartments in Johnson County meet needs of changing consumer housing demands

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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – There’s a new trend in consumer housing as more consumers want luxury living with everything they need in walking distance. A new luxury apartment complex, called the Residences at Prairie Fire, is meeting that need

Prairie Fire is part of the $588 million multi-use development at 135th and Nall in Overland Park, Kan.  The luxury apartments rent for just over $1,300 a month for a two-bedroom unit.

“Our residents are in walking distance to more than 12 restaurants, a bowling alley, a state-of-the-art luxury movie theatre, a museum, shopping and a golf course,” Jim Thomas said, a partner with Cityscape, the developers of Residences at Prairie Fire.

To read the full story, visit KSHB Channel 41.