Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Issues concerning Downtown as described by the Downtown Council. River to 31st Street, I-35 to Bruce R. Watkins.
earthling
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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by earthling » Tue May 26, 2015 8:55 am

^Senior housing or full service retirement home? Though if high rent, most would still expect a parking spot.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by shinatoo » Tue May 26, 2015 9:30 am

If you can't work out the parking, it should be a hotel.
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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by flyingember » Tue May 26, 2015 12:01 pm

That's not a bad idea. There's a lot of hotels that don't provide parking on site.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by WSPanic » Tue May 26, 2015 12:14 pm

flyingember wrote:That's not a bad idea. There's a lot of hotels that don't provide parking on site.
In KC? Obviously, in a city with decent public transit that is possible, but I don't think I would invest in a KC hotel w/no parking.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by zonk » Tue May 26, 2015 1:17 pm

Phillips doesn't have any parking.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by shinatoo » Tue May 26, 2015 2:02 pm

Convention hotel will only have parking for about 30% of the rooms. The President has very little parking if I recall.
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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by flyingember » Tue May 26, 2015 2:29 pm

The Chartwell project will have 257 rooms and 166 parking spots. Bet some of the parking will go to the retail space and hotel employees.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by DaveKCMO » Tue May 26, 2015 3:34 pm

shinatoo wrote:Convention hotel will only have parking for about 30% of the rooms. The President has very little parking if I recall.
the president has exclusive use of the underground structure on that block. it has 129 spaces for 213 rooms.

http://kcmo.gov/publicworks/parking-ser ... perations/

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by pash » Tue May 26, 2015 5:29 pm

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Last edited by pash on Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by WSPanic » Wed May 27, 2015 7:57 am

zonk wrote:Phillips doesn't have any parking.
Sure they do. You can Valet there.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by flyingember » Wed May 27, 2015 8:49 am

pash wrote:
loftguy wrote:I would not take on a zero parking provided apartment development of more than a handful of units.
Do you mean (a) you wouldn't take on a building with zero parking options whatsoever, or (b) that you wouldn't take one on if it doesn't offer parking in its own attached garage?

Because I don't think scenario (a) actually exists—it is pretty much always and everywhere possible to arrange parking downtown, albeit sometimes at significant cost of money or convenience—and (b) seems like a very conservative view.

What's the farthest extreme that you think would work—that the market is "ready for"—for a building like Mark Twain? Do you think the units would rent if parking were available for a fee in a third-party garage next door or around the corner?
There's so many B options I don't see A happening for a long time.

the GSA didn't provide parking to their employees. They only have 24 spots for ~900 employees. This is the first major example of this happening. It's nearly option A

I think we're first going to see several things happen before we see no parking become normal
1. parking be a paid cost on top of units. You buy spots, they don't come with leased space. If there's a spot your employer can pay for it or you can. You're not assured of being able to get a spot but if you pay for one you will have one, maybe even dedicated to you. Parking access becomes purely based on money, if you want to buy spaces and have them empty for guests most of the day you can do that.

2. shared space. you have plenty of spots for everyone but the residents next door share the same spot on opposite hours. There's some garages that are already this way. River Market West (offices + apartments), Union Carbide (offices + apartments), H&R Block (offices + theatre), Two Light (apartments + entertainment). I can see whole blocks converting from parking lots to a shared garage + usable space using this model.

3. for apartments you get one spot per bedroom. if you need two spots it's on you to find the second spot. this is an easy model to start with.

4. parking pools. You don't buy in a garage, you buy access to a spot but amongst a number of garages. You have signs that tell you where spots are in each garage. I really like this one for areas with a lot of excess garage space. It could be a good model for the River Market or Crossroads where all the parking is in a large pool.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by loftguy » Wed May 27, 2015 8:59 am

pash wrote:
loftguy wrote:I would not take on a zero parking provided apartment development of more than a handful of units.
Do you mean (a) you wouldn't take on a building with zero parking options whatsoever, or (b) that you wouldn't take one on if it doesn't offer parking in its own attached garage?

Because I don't think scenario (a) actually exists—it is pretty much always and everywhere possible to arrange parking downtown, albeit sometimes at significant cost of money or convenience—and (b) seems like a very conservative view.

What's the farthest extreme that you think would work—that the market is "ready for"—for a building like Mark Twain? Do you think the units would rent if parking were available for a fee in a third-party garage next door or around the corner?

I said I would not develop with zero parking.....in response to some posts that seemed to advocate such.

The 'what-if's' on nearby parking for the Mark Twain are endless and the specifics of such possibilities are critical (distance, access, time available, security, cost).

You can be sure that every developer has scanned the nearby options and reasonable solutions have not been found. Otherwise the MT would be residential today, or soon.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by zonk » Wed May 27, 2015 10:35 am

WSPanic wrote:
zonk wrote:Phillips doesn't have any parking.
Sure they do. You can Valet there.
That's not what i meant....Valet is their only parking option. No self parking.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by pash » Wed May 27, 2015 12:41 pm

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Last edited by pash on Mon Feb 13, 2017 4:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by loftguy » Wed May 27, 2015 2:00 pm

pash wrote:
loftguy wrote:I said I would not develop with zero parking...
Yes, and I was trying to figure out what you meant by "zero parking", because there is no such thing in the middle of a downtown covered with garages that never fill up.

Apparently you mean you wouldn't get involved with a project that doesn't include its own garage. I hope your attitude is not the most progressive among downtown real-estate types.


No, I'm probably the worst. It's not as easy as I make it look.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by pash » Wed May 27, 2015 3:26 pm

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by WSPanic » Wed May 27, 2015 4:53 pm

It's not going to change until the city offers a viable solution to owning/driving a car.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by FangKC » Wed May 27, 2015 8:22 pm

There are plenty of people in the metro who don't drive. They are called senior citizens. They are still active people, but they have vision-impairment. Some also have other physical reasons that they can't--recurrent dizziness, loss of hearing, physical limitations from strokes, etc. Some have to stop because certain medications or treatments have caused them blurred vision, or seizures, and any seizure activity limits driving for a period of time afterwards. Others never drove, and have lost their spouse who did the driving. Some also voluntarily give up driving at a self-appointed designated age, or because their children request it. Others simply are on a fixed income, and can no longer afford to keep a car.

Many often want to give up owning a home, and the responsibility of maintaining it and a yard. They no longer want to own property--not even a condo. Their major problem is finding apartments close to drug and grocery stores, where they can take the bus or walk--and where they also feel safe. They also like being close to public libraries and churches, and things like a dentist, doctor, hair salon, post office, and a bank. They don't require assisted living. One can live downtown and take the bus, or walk, to access most of these services. Many seniors--especially women--also like being in a secure building with a 24-hour security guard, or doorman. Safety is important to senior women. Living downtown would give them more freedom than being trapped in a suburban neighborhood that is not close to a bus stop. Even seniors in some urban neighborhoods would move downtown simply because necessary services are not close to their homes, and require long bus trips.

Mark Twain also features a large ballroom, which would be useful for senior-related activities like bingo and card games, dancing, and exercise programs. If the YMCA opens up the block, that would also be something that many would utilize. Many seniors also like volunteering at the library, the WWI museum, or Union Station. They could also walk to the Mainstreet Theater to see a movie, and walk to the Quality Hill Playhouse, the Midland, Kauffman PAC, and the Copaken Stage.

HUD often subsidizes development of senior-only apartment buildings. Senior-specific housing close to services is extremely hard to find. To my knowledge, there is only one senior-only apartment building in all of greater downtown--Cathedral Square. It has 156 units. However, I don't know that HUD would have to be involved to fill such housing. You simply would market the apartments to seniors. In the marketing of the units, one could sweeten the pot by emphasizing independent, secure living, all utilities paid, near services, cultural amenities, and transit. Renovate the apartments with features that help seniors: walk-in bathtubs with handles and grips; higher-sitting toilets with grips; wider-doorways; lower-hung kitchen cabinets with shelving that pulls down; grip-door handles instead of knobs, entry doors with peepholes. emergency buttons that notify doormen that assistance is required, and allowing pets, etc.

Seniors are the fastest growing demographic in the country right now. Downtown still lacks housing for them. There is a market for this type of housing.

I think Mark Twain could be renovated into a senior only apartment building, and find plenty of residents that wouldn't require a parking spot. Many of the residents might have also worked downtown at some point, so they would be familiar with the environment.

Blind people of all ages also like to be near transit, and within walking distance to the same services.

Even with HUD funding, units could be limited to 55-and-over, or even 62-and-over residents, and the blind, and that would negate any opposition to a HUD project downtown. Combine that funding with historic tax credits, and perhaps a property tax abatement, and that could help finance the renovation of the building without the need for dedicated parking, and still get a bank loan. For those seniors that require parking, make it known that secured spots are available for rent in nearby garages. Many seniors who keep cars don't require them daily, and walking a block or two is not cumbersome to them. They tend to not venture out in bad weather, so it wouldn't be a big problem for them. As they age, some of those would end up selling their car when they couldn't drive any longer.

The right developer might also be able to approach the Catholic Diocese about helping fund more units downtown near Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception--for their parishioners. Cathedral Square already provides a van to take residents to other local grocery stores and Walmart. Mark Twain could be an annex of Cathedral Square.

Finally, an all-senior building would have appeal for that demographic, because seniors often dislike being in shared apartment buildings with younger tenants because of lack of security (residents buzzing anyone in) and noise.

I'm going through this problem right now with an 82-year-old aunt in St. Joseph. It's almost impossible to find her an appropriate apartment that isn't assisted living, which is much more expensive. The biggest obstacles are being on a transit route, and avoiding buildings with younger tenants (and her fear of lax security and noise).
Last edited by FangKC on Wed May 27, 2015 9:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by flyingember » Wed May 27, 2015 9:21 pm

That's not a bad idea. A senior living complex downtown could be a good fit. a good city finds ways to serve everyone better and who wants to retire and need to move to the suburbs when needing a little more help if someone likes downtown?

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Re: Mark Twain Tower going residential?

Post by WSPanic » Thu May 28, 2015 8:00 am

I think that's a great idea as well. And I never said there are no people that don't drive. I was just saying it's a riskier investment. Even in retirement situations where the resident doesn't have a car, the families will often want easy, accessible parking for visits. It factors in to decision making. Likewise, for hotels, this is a market people drive to as a destination. When I drive to Omaha, Lincoln, Des Moines, etc. I try and find hotels centrally located for walking, but I also consider secure, nearby parking.

I'm all for making this city less dependent on transportation, and I hope the street car is only the beginning. I just don't think we're there yet.

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