It may be a site only a developer could love, but the 221-unit Crossroads Westside project is finding success attracting tenants with 40 percent of its apartments already leased before its formal opening.

“We are the connection between two great neighborhoods, the Crossroads and the Westside,” developer Jim Thomas of Indianapolis-based Cityscape Residential said at the grand opening event Tuesday.

“I challenged Helix for a bolder vision of what could be here,” Thomas said.

Wedged between the Broadway and Interstate 35 viaducts, and designed to avoid blocking nearby billboards, the latest project by Cityscape Residential was a test for the architects at Helix Architecture + Design.

“We’re super excited about it,” said Ryan Adams of Cityscape. “We’ve been working on it five years.  “It’s a tough site, not only with the viaducts but three billboards. We needed to work around the view corridors.”  And yes, those units facing the onrushing traffic of I-35 are extra soundproofed. You can judge for yourself how well that worked by checking this video shot from the living room of a freeway-facing, two-bedroom unit that rents for $2,100.

At the grand opening event, Mayor Sly James said he shared the questions many people had about locating an apartment building by a busy interstate.  “I kept driving by and say, I don’t know if I want to live in that apartment,” James said. “What if a car flew in there?

“What’s interesting is, the way the building was built. We’re becoming quite urban. These are things you’d see in Boston and Chicago.”  The mayor observed how the Crossroads was rooted in artists who began moving there years ago for its inexpensive space for studios and galleries.  “People saw value and it was reclaimed with arts and culture,” he said. “As a result of those early pioneers, we have a lot of synergy here.”

The five-story Crossroads Westside development wraps around a two-level garage with 300 spaces. It was built on the four-acre site of the old Jones Store warehouse, and the debris from its demolition was crushed and used for fill at the location.

The $40 million development at 601 Avenida Cesar E. Chavez includes all the amenities you’d expect including a courtyard with large swimming pool, game room, bicycle lockers, fitness center, conference rooms, coffee bar and lounge.

There’s also a private dog park and dog spa.

What’s extra is the colorful and whimsical interior design throughout, much of it done by Dimensional Innovations. Cutout cows dance across the lounge wall, mirrors disguised as giant sunglasses are in the restrooms and the game room pops with color.

“Our theme is the Crossroads,” Adams said. “We wanted to be part of the Crossroads community and blend in.”

Cityscape also has developed two larger apartment projects in Quality Hill, the Apex and the Summit, and is considering other apartment deals downtown.

A 700 square-foot one-bedroom unit at Crossroads Westside goes from $1,200 per month, and two-bedrooms go for $2,100- to $2,500 per month. All units have balconies or some other outdoor space.

Leasing began in January and the developers say there has been no challenge finding renters for units facing the highway, observing they are among the faster being leased.

“The first units leased are on the south side along the interstate and you’ll find they’re quiet,” Thomas said.

By Kevin Collison 
CityScene KC