Late last year, developer Titus Williams expected construction work was a few months away for the site of the former Missouri Hotel.
However, Williams recently said the wait continues. Approval on federal and state tax credits for the Commercial Street property he owns is still in progress. Officials at his company, Prosperiti Partners LLC, don’t expect to hear notification on their applications until next year.
“But in order for it to be qualified for state tax credits, we have to wait until closer to July. There’s a lengthy process and timeline,” said Prosperiti Vice President of Development Andrea Crawford, noting federal tax credit approval could come as soon as February. “We can’t touch it technically until the tax credits are officially approved.”
It’s a yearslong delay for work on the site. Preliminary plans call for multifamily housing, retail and office space, and a boutique hotel. Crawford and Williams say they’re not frustrated by the time that’s passed, as the development team continues to pursue other incentive opportunities through city tax abatements and a tax increment financing district, as well as the Commercial Street Community Improvement District.
Williams purchased the Missouri Hotel, 420 E. Commercial St., for an undisclosed price in early 2017 with former business partner Matt M. Miller through Historic Commercial Developments LLC. He plans to renovate the 42,000-square-foot building, as well as the 60,000 square feet of buildings surrounding it that was once nonprofit The Kitchen Inc.’s campus, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
Prosperiti Partners also has turned its attention to a couple blocks south of C-Street. A nearly $30 million multifamily development is planned for the block bordered by Pacific Street on the north, Jefferson Avenue to the west and Benton Avenue to the east. One of The Kitchen’s former buildings sits on the site, as does the shuttered Klingner-Cope Family Funeral Home, which Williams bought earlier this year for an undisclosed price. Both structures are slated to be demolished.
Crawford said groundbreaking for the development should be in first quarter 2021. However, other components remain, such as closing on the purchase of a piece of property south of the buildings and a subsequent rezoning to multifamily, said Jared Davis of project engineer Anderson Engineering Inc. He said the rezoning process with the city should begin within a few weeks.
“The city is waiting on a final site plan we can settle on,” Davis said, noting on-site and on-street parking is still under consideration. “Once we acquire the other property, we can continue with that process.”
Williams previously estimated a $50 million cost for the renovations and development of the Commercial Street hotel and former Kitchen campus. With the new multifamily project making up the development’s first phase, he said the price tag would increase but declined to provide an estimate. The investment cost will fluctuate pending city tax incentive approvals and if tax credits are awarded for the Missouri Hotel work.
The first phase is roughly $27 million, he said.
“It’ll complement the architecture on the street,” Crawford said of the planned multifamily development near Cox North Hospital and Drury University. “We’re bringing the walkability for everyone to have the work and play ability and overall experience.”
She said the project would have up to 200 units of mostly studio, one- and two-bedroom residences, although there would be a few three-bedroom options.
“We are in the design phase of this,” she said. “We won’t be ready to move to the construction phase until we finalize the zoning.”
In the old Missouri Hotel, plans call for the proposed boutique venue to be 45-50 rooms. Project architect is Buxton Kubik Dodd Design Collective. Williams said the building, which The Kitchen used as a homeless shelter for 30 years until 2015, has around 90 rooms. However, they’re all small and some have community bathrooms, he said, forcing the need to reduce the room count.
“If you don’t fix these buildings up, they will continue to deteriorate and fall apart. You can’t replace them,” he said. “We want to have a contiguous streetscape.”
He said the 1920s-built building started as the Greene Tavern Hotel, a name he noted could return to the property. It would join more than 80 loft apartments in the Commercial Street district, according to the Historic C-Street website.
The tax credits are key for the historic renovation project to begin, Williams said.
“It would make it unique, and something that’s a one-of-a-kind place,” he said.
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