Mission Bowl developer commits to reserving 20% of apartments for low-income tenants

The finance and administration committee began conversations about tax increment financing, including affordability and sustainability measures related to the Mission Bowl redevelopment project. The Mission City Council also set two public hearings for Dec. 16 related to the project. The above rendering shows the apartment complex's Martway Street facade. Image courtesy of Connor Treanor.

The city of Mission’s finance committee heard an update Wednesday on financing and project plans for the proposed Mission Bowl apartment project, a five-story, 161-unit apartment complex at 5399 Martway Street.

Bruce Kimmel, an representative from the city’s consultant Ehler’s Inc., provided the finance and administration committee with an update on the status of the negotiations, which currently call for an estimated city share of $1.3 million paid over a 20-year period. Kimmel said the consultants dug into conversations with developers about the project plans, budgets and more.

“What we were trying to do is first of all confirm overall the validity and viability of the project because, even aside form the question of is there a need for assistance, we wanted to make sure all the pieces connected together, that the assumptions were pretty… reasonable, neither too high nor too low across the board,” Kimmel said.

Developer commits 20% of units for low-income residents

The Mission City Council previously approved the preliminary development agreement for the proposed apartment complex at the former Mission Bowl site. The above rendering shows the apartment complex’s Martway Street facade. Image courtesy of Connor Treanor.

Sunflower Development Group has currently committed to reserve 20% of the apartment units, or 32 units, for low-income tenants, or tenants earning up to 60% of the average median income of the Kansas City metro, Kimmel said. The affordability breakdown by unit type is as follows:

  • 16 studios, or 23% of the 69 planned studio units
  • 12 one-bedrooms, or 19% of the 63 planned
  • 4 two-bedrooms, or 14% of the 29 planned

The affordability commitment would run for 20 years after the apartment complex opens. Councilmember Trent Boultinghouse asked what that means for tenants who might sign up in year 20 and want to continue their lease. Kimmel said negotiations have not fleshed out what might happen in that scenario, but he and the developer will discuss ideas and bring it back to the committee.

Kimmel said the affordable rent levels at 60% average median income would be a maximum of around $900 for a studio, about $970 for a one-bedroom and about $1,160 for a two-bedroom. Councilmember Sollie Flora asked how useful it is to have most of the affordable units be studios, and whether TIF would be necessary if the studios were taken out.

Studio apartments are seeing a lot of success among younger generations, Kimmel said. If the city wanted to increase affordable one- or two-bedroom units, the subsidy for the units would also need to be increased.

Councilmembers Hillary Parker Thomas and Flora both said they’d like to see additional two-bedroom units added to the affordable units list.

Councilmember calls ‘to keep pushing’ on green elements

Kimmel laid out a list of green building elements related to the sustainability of the redevelopment plan as provided by the developer. Items included storm water management, reuse of Mission Bowl materials and energy efficient appliances and equipment.

Flora said she appreciated the presentation developers gave to the city’s sustainability commission, as well as their commitment to sustainability. But she called on the city council “to keep pushing” on the green piece.

“I also got the impression that building consistently with LEED Silver standards is pretty much the baseline that is done for everything,” Flora said. “If we’re looking at TIF participation from the city here, we should be talking LEED Gold certified or strong or green building measures.”

After the consultants and developers hit the drawing board once again, the consultant will come back to the committee with a redevelopment agreement draft in December. If the committee wants to continue to discuss the draft, City Administrator Laura Smith said they may have to consider having an additional meeting the second week of September to ensure the process is kept on track.

Immediately prior to the finance and administration committee meeting, the city council held a special called meeting to discuss the public hearings of two topics: the division of Rock Creek Redevelopment District 3 and the Mission Bowl apartments TIF plan.

The Mission City Council Wednesday evening also approved the public hearings to take place at the city council’s regular scheduled Dec. 16 meeting. Councilmember Debbie Kring was absent.