Mission Bowl apartment redevelopment concept moves forward to city council

The planning commission unanimously approved the preliminary development plan for the former Mission Bowl site to be turned into a five-story apartment complex as submitted by Sunflower Development Group. File photo.

The Mission Planning Commission Monday evening approved the preliminary development plan for an apartment complex at the former Mission Bowl site. The city council will consider the planning commission’s recommendation at either a September or October meeting, although it is tentatively scheduled to appear on the Sept. 16 agenda.

Kansas City, Missouri-based Sunflower Development Group intends to build a five-story, 164-unit complex at 5399 Martway Street, just a short walk away from the Mission Gateway project. Banks Floodman, Sunflower’s director of business development, said as a result of Mission’s centralized location in the Kansas City metropolitan area, there is no concern about competition with the future Gateway apartments. 

“Overall, we feel very confident that the apartments will be filled, and most importantly, filled with people that hope to call Mission home long term,” Floodman said. 

Developer asks for height and density zoning exceptions

One of the main changes made to the Mission Bowl redevelopment plan is the live/work space facing Martway Street, as pictured. The space will be treated as residential, with a work from home space on the first floor and an apartment on the second floor. Image courtesy of Connor Treanor.

Sunflower and TreanorHL, a design firm, have made changes to the plan since the June neighborhood meeting including a two-level live/work space making up a majority of the Martway Street facade. The project also requested the following deviations from conventional main street district 2 development standards, as outlined in city documents: 

  •  A deviation from permitted uses as it pertains to the live/work space, since the proposed complex doesn’t have traditional commercial space. The Martway facade spaces would be treated as residential, Floodman said. 
  • A height deviation to allow the five-story building, whereas the development standards limits building height to three stories. 
  • A density deviation, which under conventional zoning would allow 121 units on a 3.15 lot. 

A few residents who live in the surrounding neighborhood weighed in, including Grant Glenn, who said he was concerned about the height deviation and the potential invasion of privacy for existing residents. Glenn said he was also concerned that there was no pedestrian study conducted for neither the proposed apartment complex nor the Mission Gateway project.  

Ben Chociej — who also lives just on the other side of Rock Creek on W. 60th Terrace — is of a different opinion. Chociej said he and his wife are supportive of the development, which they see as the right fit for the former bowling alley. 

“[Chociej and his wife] think there’s a lot of future potential here in terms of a more walkable, revitalized main street downtown area of Mission,” Chociej said. “[We] certainly welcome the vitality and the residents spending money at the shops and restaurants around here.” 

Mission Resident John Dougherty said he agrees with both Chociej and Glenn. While Dougherty likes the idea of the apartment complex, he said he hopes the developer will focus on some sort of noise barrier and light pollution moving forward. 

Planning commission member Jordan McGee asked about the developer’s ability to navigate COVID-19 challenges with its two current developments. Floodman said Sunflower has not had any delays, and while it’s difficult to predict what could happen, he sees an excitement and potential for people calling the Kansas City area home.   

Additionally, in a response to planning commission member Robin Dukelow, Floodman said the proposed affordability requirements will be based on 80% average median income, which is currently $55,800 in Mission.

After a nearly two hour conversation, the planning commission approved the plan unanimously. 

Update: This story has been updated to accurately reflect the proposed equation of affordability. A previous version incorrectly stated Sunflower intended to keep 80% of the units affordable.