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Quality Hill 2 in the East Loop?

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For those of you that don't know, Quality Hill is one of downtown's most urban and best neighborhoods, a mix of highrises, SF type housing (but shorter like 2 floors), victorian type housing, etc...

Some photos of Quality Hill are below the article...

Developers want 'Quality Hill' project in east Downtown

Charlie Anderson

Staff Writer

The St. Louis firm that developed housing on Quality Hill 20 years ago remains interested in a similar large project on the eastern periphery of Downtown.

Tony Salazar, president of McCormack Baron Salazar Inc.'s West Coast division, said a residential development east of Ilus Davis Park will become a reality once a slate of big downtown projects gets finished.

"It'll happen because it's the right thing," Salazar said.

He said the timing is not right to push forward a plan immediately. Such a large project (Quality Hill cost $40 million in 1983, or $67 million in 2003 dollars) requires broad support -- from the city, from financiers and from community leaders.

"It needs to be high on everybody's priority list, and it's not going to be anytime soon," Salazar said. "There's too many other things going on right now Downtown."

That includes public support and subsidies for the Sprint Center, a downtown entertainment district, a new H&R Block Inc. headquarters and a performing arts center.

McCormack Baron envisions building residential units, a la Quality Hill, from Ilus Davis Park on the west to The Paseo on the east, bordered by the downtown loop's highways to the north and south.

That interest emerged in 2003, when the Federal Reserve Bank decided to locate near the Liberty Memorial instead of on the east side of Downtown.

No land assembly has begun for a McCormack Baron project, but city leaders are pushing forward with an "urban design framework" for the area that they hope will spark interest among developers.

That plan, being drafted by Kansas City-based BNIM Architects, includes the working support of Time Equities Inc., a developer of high-rise condos in the area.

In addition, the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority drew up a district within the east side earlier this year, allowing any project to receive subsidies such as tax abatements.

"We're primed to provide incentives for development over there," said Joe Egan, director of housing programs at the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City. "We'd support (a McCormack Baron proposal), no question about it."

One city official said the urban development firm -- which recently completed residential projects on Hospital Hill and in the 18th and Vine District -- remains in high regard.

Donovan Mouton, Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes' director of urban affairs, said that McCormack Baron has met with city officials to express their desire but that nothing has come of it.

The city would have to be a key partner of any plan, Salazar said.

That was case with Quality Hill in the early 1980s, when the city paid $7.45 million for infrastructure improvements, assembled $11 million in bonds and used a $6.5 million federal grant.

"It requires the city to co-invest in," Salazar said. "And they're not there yet. The city is taking advantage of larger opportunities right now.

"I just think this one will come in its due course. After this next wave, this one will be there."

Quality Hill Photos:

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This photo should be flipped horizontally to be viewed correctly...

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