A California-based developer is planning a $50 million housing complex in downtown Springfield, and project officials are targeting a groundbreaking next month.
College Town International LLC, a Los Angeles-based development company, is building a five-story, 194-unit complex at the site of the former Arbor motel on St. Louis Street. The site, a mostly vacant lot for over a decade, is adjacent to The Old Glass Place and across the street from the Discovery Center of Springfield Inc.
Dan Weinstein, managing partner of College Town International, said the roughly 225,000-square-foot complex will offer layout options from studios to four-bedroom apartments. Weinstein said he's been developing plans for the past nine months, and the company’s goal is to begin preleasing apartments in spring 2021. The development will be geared toward students and young professionals, he said.
“We are generally attracted to projects in areas that are seeking new redevelopment,” Weinstein said. “As downtown becomes revitalized, we think this would be a nice option for students and young people that may want to live downtown or close to work.”
Kansas City-based Hollis and Miller Architects Inc. is the primary architect, with local support from H Design Group LLC.
Rob Haik, principal architect for H Design Group, said building amenities include a fitness area, community kitchen, study area, pool, and indoor and outdoor lounges. He said a coffee shop is slated on the first floor for both residents and the public. The five-story complex also is designed with an underground parking garage for roughly 170 parking spaces, he said.
“The interiors to this project and what they’ll offer is at a whole different level than what Springfield is accustomed to,” Haik said.
Engineers on the project are Olsson Inc., civil; Hollis and Miller Architects Inc., structural; and Kansas City-based Henderson Engineers Inc., mechanical, electrical and plumbing. Crossland Construction Company Inc. was hired as the general contractor, Haik said.
Weinstein said one of his priorities for the project was offering privacy to residents. Each apartment is designed with a shared common area and kitchen, and each bedroom is equipped with a private bathroom. Though leasing terms have not been finalized, Weinstein said residents would rent by the bedroom or by the apartment.
“A lot of people might be living out of home for the first time, so we want to make it very comfortable and inviting, but at the same time private,” he said.
Weinstein said the lot at 505 St. Louis St. was appealing because it was in a qualified federal opportunity zone. The site is where the former Arbor motel was demolished in 2007 and early 2008, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
The apartment complex, which is expected to cover nearly half a block, also will utilize space where a pair of nearly century-old vacant downtown buildings were demolished in 2014. The roofs of the structures collapsed, creating a public safety hazard, according to past SBJ reporting.
Project officials are also seeking Springfield Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority approval. Matt Schaefer, senior planner with the city of Springfield, said an application for tax abatement under Chapter 353 was submitted in mid-July. Schaefer said the LCRA committee will review the application in October, and if approved, it will go to a public hearing with City Council in late October. He said the process takes about 70 days.
If approved, the property owner would receive up to 25 years of partial real property tax abatement.
College Town International is working with potential lenders on financing, Weinstein said. The company also is working on similar housing projects in southern California and Texas.
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