Marlborough Village Commercial Revitalization

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Catalyst Projects > Marlborough Village Commercial Revitalization

– See description below for the Catalyst Project –

The additional project opportunities related to this redevelopment catalyst project are:

  1. Community graphic identity roll-out
  2. Mentorship programs
  3. Documentary film
  4. Develop Arts Programming at a Community Venue & Partner with the Constructing Futures Program of Jackson County to rehab a house that would become an artist live-work space
  5. Develop a signature arts/entrepreneurship event
    5a. Marlborough Farmers Market
  6. Marlborough Village Community Garden
  7. Pedestrian and bicycling improvements
  8. Streetcar planning process involvement
  9. Improve bus routes to grocery stores

Catalyst Project Description:
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The Marlborough Village Catalyst Project concentrates on the properties along The Paseo in the area roughly between Holy Martyrs Catholic Church (78th Street) and the Marlborough Community Center (82nd Street).  The initial plan is to show what it would take to concentrate certain development activities near the center of this corridor at 80th & The Paseo and then build off of this investment moving north and south.  Specifically, a preliminary plan has been developed to target underutilized structures and open space in this area to create a mixed-use environment with a centralized public/private garden space (see the before and after illustration on this webpage).  In addition to creating new ground level retail/office space, a proposed vocational educational facility could be developed that would bring people to the area both during and after working hours.

The redevelopment concept is to utilize approximately gross 8,500 sq. ft. of building space for residential, retail/office and institutional uses.  This would be complemented by over 15,000 sq. ft. of open space for off street parking and greenspace, with a small area used to accompany the educational setting.   Although the properties at the intersection 80th & The Paseo that comprise this plan are all currently under private ownership, discussions about this concept have taken place with some of the owners.  With their encouragement, the following details show how this could be accomplished and serve as a model for other development in the area.

The property at 7941 Paseo is comprised of two buildings.  The northern one is a small one-story brick commercial structure with a fairly large rear yard.  The southern two-story Renaissance Revival building sits at the northeast corner of the intersection and features a rear gravel parking lot that currently serves the building.  Across The Paseo, at 8014 Paseo, sits an older one-story retail/light industrial building with rear open space.  Immediately to the north of this building sits two individual lots totaling over 11,000 sq. ft., with each lot sharing ownership with its respective adjacent building.

For this core area of Marlborough Village, the development committee recommended a mix of uses that could potentially benefit one another, as well as serve the corridor overall.  The two story building would feature rehabilitated rental apartment units on the second floor and a reworked commercial space on the first floor, potentially as a destination restaurant space.  The rear parking lot would be improved and paved with pervious pavers to serve both the tenants and customers alike.  The adjoining small commercial building could be used for overflow from the ground floor business or could continue to stand alone as an office, service retail or creative space, as it is currently.  Coordination with the property owner to the north, where the communication tower sits, could also result in additional off-street parking to serve these businesses.

Since the rates for the apartment units and the potential commercial rent to a local (non-national) tenant is likely to be below the city’s market average at this time, additional assistance would like be necessary to cover the gap in financing a thorough rehabilitation. (See preliminary proforma here.)  This reality led to the discussion of utilizing historic tax credits, both federal and state, to provide the additional equity needed to support a low net operating income (NOI) and therefore an inadequate loan amount in a traditional bank financed 80/20 or 70/30 loan to value ratio.  This would require having the building individually nominated for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Place or listed as a contributing structure within a National Register historic district. These properties, along with entire Marlborough Village, could benefit from utilizing the standards and practices set forth in the National Trust’s Main Street program, as coordinated in this area by the Missouri Main Street Connection.

Discussions regarding the commercial structure at 8014 Paseo centered on uses that would bring people to the area throughout the entire day.  The primary focus was on some sort of non-traditional educational function, such as a vocational or culinary school.  The end use would try to work with the synergies already underway in the area (automotive repair) or proposed for the renewed Marlborough Village (healthy food).  Based on the use, this building may still need a significant upgrade, but since it is non-residential in nature it may be eligible for the non-historic 10% rehabilitation tax credit depending upon its year of construction.   The rear area would be utilized for which ever function best suits the building, however it would hopefully remain primarily unpaved to allow for proper storm percolation.

The open space between 8000-8014 Paseo would be completely converted into a multi-purpose garden space.  The garden could be bifurcated into a privately accessed growing area for local restaurants in the rear, as well as a publicly accessed seating and viewing area along the street frontage that could complement the ATA bus stop.  An integrated Streetscape Plan addressing lighting, signage and landscaping would pull all of these elements together and create a truly defined sense of place.  Completed successfully, these design elements could be replicate throughout the corridor stretching from the boulevard greenway to the north to the Marlborough Community Center to the south.

The developers that undertake this catalytic redevelopment work need assurances, however, that their work will not be done in a vacuum. As such, a Marlborough Village Streetscape Plan would create a framework for making the sidewalks and intersections around these renewed commercial ventures more walkable and safe, while using both natural amenities and artwork to enhance the overall pedestrian experience.  Incorporating best practices from the Complete Streets concepts, these infrastructure improvements will help with traffic calming and community identification, as well as serving to integrate with the KCMO Water Services Green Infrastructure project. The Streetscape Plan also presents a terrific opportunity to tie into a number of the other neighborhood priority initiatives (i.e., artist-created banners with new neighborhood branding or a setting for a local food hub tied into the Village’s restaurants and market).  The overall result would be that, in this commercial corridor that has seen very little recent community investment, enhancing the public realm is an important first step to signal a regenerating destination.

In that spirit, the Development community work group recognized that the rebirth of Marlborough Village would require public/private partnerships.  As a way to entice for-profit developers and business owners to invest in this corridor, the initial commitment to revitalization would have to come via a mix of public and philanthropic monies used to establish a new vision for this area.  This Streetscape Plan would need to be done in conjunction with the business community, however, in order to recognize their long term needs.  For instance, design features such as curb bump outs at intersections would need to consider the parking needs of the local businesses, as well as potential spaces for activities such as outdoor café seating.  Further, these designs would need to be coordinated with the future plans of the Kansas City Area Transit Authority and other agencies overseeing infrastructure improvements.

This process of working from the “outside in” centers on the fact that the Marlborough Village still retains the “good bones” necessary to lay a proper foundation for the Streetscape Plan and the commercial redevelopment that will follow. Importantly, a trigger is needed to entice private investment, which is in this case amenities and infrastructure stretching from the curbline to a building’s front door.  Specifically, the elements that need to be incorporated in this new plan would include monument signage, key bus stop improvements, street furniture (e.g., benches, plantings and planters, waste/recycling receptacles), lighting standards and possible “pocket” green spaces.  And, perhaps most importantly, all of these features would also need to come with related operational and management policies to ensure the long term success of this major infrastructure investment.

Additional information to implement this catalyst project below:
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Implementation pathway:

  1. Establish a local stakeholder committee to champion this project (completed).
  2. Notify area professional organizations, such ASLA, APA and APWA regarding your intentions to undertake this process.
  3. Coordinate with other Marlborough Catalyst committees to see which elements of their work could be incorporated in the Marlborough Village plan.
  4. Schedule an initial meeting with appropriate local foundations that could assist in both developing the plan and potentially funding physical improvements.
  5. Schedule a meeting with the City Councilmembers and their PIAC representatives for the area to discuss potential City involvement.
  6. Look to other non-profits whose missions may have direct synergies with this undertaking, such as Get Growing KC.
  7. As the initial draft of the plan is being developed, reach out to the local ULI to start cultivating developer interest.
  8. Conduct and initial Historic Building/District eligibility survey and evaluate pursuing listing in the National Register of Historic Places.
  9. Work with professionals to develop design guidelines and other standards for redevelopment.

Champions and their roles:

Local resident and architectural graduate, Curtis Calkins, will be leading the Commercial Development Catalyst, with Marlborough Village commercial property and business owner, Dan Norburg, leading the integration of the Streetscape Plan.  Others local champions who have committed to these processes include Charles Brown, Linda Brown, Barbara Burton, Jim Henkel and Stephen Maslan.

Partner organizations:

Prairie Gateway Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

Eco Abet 

Kansas City Section of the American Planning Association

National Complete Streets Coalition

Green Works in Kansas City

Get Growing KC

Cultivate KC

Historic Kansas City Foundation

Missouri Main Street Connection

The Kansas City Metro Chapter of the American Public Works Association

ULI Kansas City – Urban Land Institute

Mid-America Regional Council (MARC)

Potential funding sources or supportive programs:

H&R Block Foundation:  This foundation has long had a history of providing seed money to jump start initiatives, especially related to improvements of civic and community spaces.

Greater Kansas City Community Foundation:  This regional wide foundation oversees numerous trusts and estates, including those with a directed giving focus on community beautification and enhancements.

City of Kansas City, MO – Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) Funds: The primary purpose of PIAC is to provide critical funding for neighborhood priority projects, with an emphasis on public infrastructure.

KCMO CDE (NMTC):  This agency specializes in CDFI and New Market Tax Credits to promote and support innovative, targeted and collaborative economic and community development initiatives that help build and grow vibrant, sustainable and prosperous communities throughout Kansas City.

MDNR (HPITC – Federal):  The Missouri Dept. of Natural Resources serves as the State Historic Preservation office overseeing the federal Historic Preservation investment Tax Credit program.

MODED (HPITC – State):  The Missouri Dept. of Economic Development oversees many state-based redevelopment programs, including a sister program to the federal Historic Preservation investment Tax Credit program.

Kansas City Equity Fund:  This local syndicator of tax credits, including both historic and New Market, has a focus on small/medium sized projects.

Greater Kansas City LISC (Local Initiative Support Corporation):  The mission of LISC states a dedication to attracting, coordinating and providing resources to assist in the transformation of targeted neighborhoods into healthy, sustainable communities in partnership with their residents.

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