By: Miranda Davis
For those in attendance at the ribbon cutting of 531 Grand on Thursday afternoon, the opening of this apartment complex felt like a victory lap for some stalwarts of Kansas City development who long ago saw the vision of Downtown as we know it today.
One of those is Ken Block, managing principal of Block Real Estate ServicesLLC, who told the story of his father’s idea for Downtown.
“When Downtown was nothing, he said: ‘If you really want a great Downtown, you have to have people live there. You have to have people live there all the time,’” Block said.
531 Grand is a luxury apartment complex sitting one block from the streetcar line in the River Market. It was a joint venture between Block LLC and Omaha-based Cornerstone Associates LLC.
Both Block and Lawrence Mazzotta of Cornerstone thanked the partners and government officials who matched their vision for downtown multifamily residential development.
That included Mayor Sly James, who also spoke, and City Council members Lee Barnes Jr., Scott Taylor and Theresa Loar, who attended the event.
“Now more than ever, people are looking to move into the downtown, River Market area, the Crossroads area,” James said. “The heart of the city is indeed strong.”
James noted the major accomplishments of the past 10 years that led to multifamily developments like this one, including Sprint Center, the Kansas City Power & Light District and the streetcar.
“Now we have the same situation with residential,” he said. “We have more people living Downtown than ever before.”
Block and Cornerstone broke ground on the now 185-unit project in 2016. The project initially was estimated at 140 units and $24.3 million.
Titan Built is the general contractor, and Beacon Management LLC will manage the property. The building was 86 percent leased and 71 percent occupied as of Wednesday. Rents start at $904 for studios and run to $2,300 for a two-bedroom apartment.
Amenities include underground parking, elevated amenity deck with a view of the downtown skyline, a saltwater pool, fitness center, dog-washing station and an indoor club room with a community kitchen for gatherings and billiards. Apartments include luxury finishes such as quartz counters, stainless-steel appliances and floor-to-ceiling windows.
Block said the intent was to build a place where residents could live, play and get to work easily.
Block said he remembered the groundbreaking two years ago and how nervous he was that the project wouldn’t live up to the ideas they had.
“It’s everything we imagined and more,” he said.
For Block, the day marked another success in the Kansas City area, but he wrapped up the event’s remarks with a clear sign he has no plans to stop anytime soon:
“I want to say welcome to all of our residents that are here, thank you to everyone who helped with this, and on to the next project.”