Archive for Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Baldwin City Planning Commission recommends rezoning of old middle school

March 11, 2015

The Baldwin City Council Planning Commission on Tuesday recommended approval of Flint Hills Holding Group’s rezoning request of the old school on the 700 block of Chapel Street that would allow its renovation into apartments.

The rezoning application to multifamily residential will now go to the Baldwin City Council. Should the property be rezoned, Flint Hills must submit a development plan for the planning commission’s approval, detailing the work to be done on the building and specifics for such things as parking before any construction starts on the school

The Baldwin school board agreed to sell the school to Kansas City-area developer Tony Krsnich and his Flint Hills Holding Group in September 2013 for $90,000. Flint Hills has developed a number of older buildings in Kansas through the use of historic preservation tax credits and affordable housing tax credits, including the Polar Lofts in east Lawrence.

The information Flint Hills Vice President Tom Larkin presented to planning commissioners Tuesday was much the same as that he shared last month with the Baldwin City Council, when he asked and received the council’s support for the company’s tax credit application.

The plan is to use historical preservation and affordable house tax credits to help finance the $5.3 million redevelopment of the Chapel Street school. The use of tax credits also requires a percentage of the apartments be designated “affordable.” Larkin said 75 percent of the old school’s apartments would be so designated and the remaining would be rented at market rates.

The floor plans shared with the city last month called for 20 one-bedroom units, eight two-bedroom units, two three-bedroom units and the office. Larkin told planning commissioners there would be an elevator installed in the old school, as well as other modifications to make it ADA compliant.

The tenant demographic would be young professionals, young business owners and Baker University professors, Larkin said. The apartments would have on-site management.

With the historic preservation tax credits, the exterior of the building would be little changed, Larkin said. The interior would be modified but hallways and “the core” would be preserved, he said.

Parking would be north of the old school. The redevelopment plan does not include the South Gymnasium, which also came with the sale of the property. That would be rezoned with the rest of the property and a future rezoning would be needed for any use other than multi-family development at the site, said Baldwin City community development director Collin Bielser.

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