Hooray for KC's new downtown apartment projects
The Kansas City Star
You can look at the planned $70 million investment in new downtown KC apartments two ways.
We’re digging an even bigger hole by investing more public money in the Power & Light District.
We’re going to turn the corner by adding more people to live and shop in the district.
I understand why critics of the district would choose the first option. But I actually see some legitimate reasons to believe the second one might come true.
Bottom line: As The Star reported, the construction of a new apartment complex and the renovation of the Midland office building will invest lots of private funds in downtown KC. That’s a good thing. Plus, it should add to the number of fairly well compensated people in the area; those apartments are going to be rather pricey.
The construction of a tall, glassed building will be a new icon in downtown KC.
And renovation of the now-vacant Midland is a victory for downtown, too.
Ah, but what about that public subsidy of at least $8 million into the project in the Power & Light District, which already sucks up around $12 million to $15 million a year in taxpayer funds to pay off the bonds that made the revival of downtown possible?
First, it’s a small percentage of the overall project.
Second, taxpayer incentives - which I have often opposed or questioned for many projects - should be reserved for urban areas. That includes downtown, at least in certain cases. And bringing in new residential customers, overall, is a good thing.