Here’s the skinny on the Real Estate market so far this year!
Here’s the skinny on the Real Estate market so far this year!
Story By Katy Schamberger | Union Hill photos by Jason Dailey
Downtown Kansas City’s transformation has been nothing short of remarkable. Once-vacant buildings, run-down blocks and little pedestrian activity outside of typical business hours have evolved into a thriving mix of commercial and residential development sparked by projects like the Sprint Center, Power & Light District and the Kansas City Streetcar, as well as wildly popular events like First Fridays.
Yet people don’t just want to work in or visit downtown Kansas City—they want to live there, too, a demand that’s fueled a flurry of new residential projects. Consider this your VIP tour. Fair warning: you might just want to move downtown when you’re finished!
Perched just south of downtown Kansas City awaits Union Hill, which spans 16 blocks and offers an enticing blend of history and modern construction. And if you thought downtown Kansas City’s revitalization is a compelling story, Union Hill just might top it.
One of Kansas City’s oldest continuous neighborhoods, Union Hill was established in 1857. More recently, the area’s preservation and advancement is credited to local developer Bob Frye, who first proposed his plan for Union Hill’s development in his master’s thesis statement, then soon began buying pieces of land in the neighborhood until he fully bought out Union Hill’s original developer, Jim Young, in the late 1980s.
Now three decades later, Union Hill is thriving, home to an appealing mix of development that includes apartments, condominiums, townhomes, single-family homes and commercial buildings. Two new apartment buildings will soon be added to the mix—the Campbell building, opening in June, and the McCoy Building, scheduled to open in September.
John Price, Union Hill’s leasing director, says Union Hill is now home to approximately 1,200 people, and the waiting list continues to grow.
It’s no wonder Union Hill proves especially popular during the warmer months, when the neighborhood’s mature trees, carefully designed landscaping and walkability are in full splendor.
“People don’t always realize how close Union Hill is to everything,” Price says. “You can walk to First Fridays, Crown Center and Union Station. We have two hotels in the neighborhood, plus more than 30 businesses, including restaurants, bars and retail.”
Events are also popular in the neighborhood, an ideal way to bring both residents and visitors together. Price helped start a Food Truck Friday event last year, which drew more than 300 people to a picnic in an unexpected location.
“We ate in Union Hill cemetery,” Price says. “Not a lot of people can say they’ve done that!”
There’s much about Union Hill that makes it an enticing choice for a variety of residents, but the diverse living options take top honors. A mix of apartments, townhomes and condominiums are available in three styles, each thoughtfully designed and carefully built with convenience and comfort in mind.
The Classic Lifestyle collection includes stone and brick architecture inspired by Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. Buildings include Union Hill Place, located near the World War I Memorial and Crown Center; the Michael Diveley Building, Mattie Lykins Bingham Building and Johnston Lykins Building, all part of the Founders community; and M.C. Wood Building townhomes, an ideal blend of affordable urban living with the comfort and features of a full-size home.
For those who covet loft-like features in a more traditional neighborhood setting, Union Hill’s Loft Lifestyle properties include the Allan B.H. McGee Building and, later this year, the John Calvin McCoy Building. You simply have to step inside the McGee Building to see the attention to detail that’s common throughout each Union Hill home. Multicolored LED lights are cleverly placed in the ceiling, welcoming you with a vibrant glow. The contemporary lighting is balanced by the warmth of load-bearing cedar beams and benches made from locally reclaimed wood.
Inside apartments, loft-inspired features like exposed ductwork and open floor plans effortlessly mingle with chrome hardware, serpent-style lighting and spacious kitchens accented with islands. Walk-in pantries offer ample shelving that Price says “justify a Costco trip,” and bathrooms are made more spacious with recessed sinks.
For those who covet luxury, Union Hill delivers. Seven of the neighborhood’s buildings are part of the Platinum Lifestyle collection, inspired by Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. You’ll be greeted by concrete pineapples that top the entrance gate to the Jacob Ragan Building, part of Founders Phase II that also includes the John Taylor and John Campbell buildings. A stone-paved courtyard features exquisite landscaping and a bubbling fountain, which leads into an elegant lobby complete with marble tile floors.
Inside, floor plans are available in several layouts, including studio, one-bedroom with den and two-bedroom. Kitchens are a haven for cooking aficionados, complete with gas cooktops and electric ovens. Interiors are made even more spacious by 9- and 10-foot ceilings and accented with stylish finishing touches like crown molding and wood plank flooring. Several units offer wood-burning fireplaces and outdoor brick terraces, the perfect spot to savor the view over a morning cup of coffee or evening cocktail.
Although Union Hill offers a range of residential developments, all homes share a number of common features including full-size washers and dryers, walk-in closets, personal intrusion systems and parking. And though you might not immediately associate an historic area like Union Hill with state-of-the-art technology, the neighborhood is home to three buildings—the Taylor, Ragan and McGee—that were the first in the world to be built with Google Fiber in the walls, rather than being retrofitted for fiber Internet and television. Additionally, select buildings include Nest thermostats.
Yet history remains a vital part of Union Hill. Look up at the Greenlease Cadillac Building, for example, and you’ll notice Cadillac emblems, reminders of the building’s past as the first Cadillac dealership west of the Mississippi. It’s that sort of thoughtful approach—and Frye’s visionary leadership—that propelled Union Hill into what might be its most successful chapter yet.
It’s not often that residents lease an apartment without seeing it first, but that’s exactly what happened at One Light Apartments.
“One Light is the fastest project I’ve ever worked on,” says Marnie Sauls, director of residential management. “When we opened [in November 2015] we were 85 percent leased. Now we’re fully occupied. It’s crazy if you think about it—85 percent of people leased sight unseen.”
The soaring glass building occupies a prime piece of land at 13th and Walnut streets, putting residents in the heart of downtown Kansas City. The Power & Light District, Sprint Center, Crossroads Arts District and the Central Business District are all a short stroll away. Plus, One Light residents can get to Cosentino’s Downtown Market and Onelife Fitness without leaving the building, unmatched conveniences that Sauls says “you just can’t duplicate.”
Inside One Light, the sense of luxury is all encompassing, from the stylish, welcoming lobby to the building’s open concept floor plans accented by floor-to-ceiling windows, 9-foot ceilings, quartz kitchen islands and backsplashes and luxury appliances. It’s the windows—and, by extension, the views—that Sauls says contributed to “such high demand. When you think about what makes most people happy where they live, it’s sunlight, those windows and the views.”
Thoughtful finishing touches contribute to that coveted luxury aesthetic, including eye-catching pieces of local art placed throughout the building with help from Weinberger Fine Art Owner and Executive Curator Kim Weinberger. Additional building amenities include a rooftop pool and bar, a business center, nightly rental suites, a wine wall, entertainment kitchen and club room. Those amenities—and a perpetually full activities schedule that includes two monthly residents events—contribute to what Sauls says is one of her favorite things about One Light.
“I think what I love most about the building is the sense of community,” she says. “Typically you don’t get that in an apartment community because you’re more spread out, but One Light residents know each other and the employees.”
As a result of One Light’s incredible popularity, plans have already moved forward to build Two Light, a 24-story tower under construction between Grand Boulevard and Walnut Street. The building is scheduled to open in March 2018 and will include 300 luxury residential units on 18 floors. The remaining six stories will house commercial and parking space. Sauls says the second project offers prospective tenants a wider range of options and a chance to find a home that fits their preferences.
“It just depends on what’s more important to you,” Sauls says. “Do you need a little more square footage? Or do you want the grocery store right there, so you don’t even have to go outside? It makes people stop and think and really prioritize, and no one else offers that in the city.”
“We were missing that luxury lifestyle of being downtown,” she says. “I think other builders are catching on and understanding that residents want to pay more, they want a lifestyle—they will come downtown if we give them the product that they want.”
That said, demand for downtown living is so high that Sauls says there’s room for a variety of residential projects.
“Somebody moves out, somebody moves right back in,” she says. “We haven’t hurt anyone’s business by bringing on these units. Everyone’s still staying full, and that tells you how many people want to live downtown.”
College Boulevard Activity Complex, 11031 S. Valley Parkway ., Olathe, KS 66061
Leawood City Park, 10601 Lee Blvd., Leawood, KS 66206
Recreation Park, 1021 S. Madison St., Raymore, MO
Richard L. Berkley Riverfront Park, 1298 Riverfront Dr., Kansas City, MO 64101
Corporate Woods, 8717 W 110th St., Overland Park, KS 66210
Main Street Parkville Association, 122 S Main St., Parkville, MO 64152
Fountain Bluff Sports Complex, 2200 Old State Hwy 210, Liberty, MO 64068
Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm, 1200 E Kansas City Rd., Olathe, KS 66061
Platte Ridge Park, 17130 371 HWY, Platte City, MO 64079
Merritt Lake, Grant Ave., Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027
Smithville Lake & Campground, Missouri Highway DD and Litton Way, Smithville, MO 64089
Powell Gardens, 1609 NW Hwy. 50, Kingsville, MO 64061
Memorial Day Weekend Kansas City
Kick off summer fun with these great ideas for Memorial Day Weekend!
By Terri Engels
The smart home revolution has led to some mind-boggling advances to our daily routine. From brewing a world-class cup of coffee from your smart phone to streaming your favorite Spotify playlist through a lightbulb in the kitchen, it seems there’s no end to the daily life hacks now available to us. However, it’s not just humans that are benefiting from this otherworldly technology.
It should be no great mystery to the devoted pet parents out there that in 2014 Americans spent $19.7 billion on their beloved furry children. This means most owners want the very best for their pets and are willing to spend the necessary money to achieve that. There have been several smart home innovations geared towards keeping pets happy, healthy and stimulated that showcase this trend – so what are they?
One of the main concerns when leaving a pet at home during extreme weather is how they would fare in the sweltering heat or blisteringly cold. Heat especially can put your canine compadre at risk. Did you know that a dog is susceptible to a heat stroke when the heat index hits 105°F – a level that can be reached when the weather is actually as low as 90°F?
In the past, pet owners would simply set the thermostat before they left for the day and hope for the best, disregarding rising temperatures and the inherent inconsistencies of many animal systems. But luckily for the more diligent pet owners, smart thermostats now enable you to tinker and toy with the temperature of your home in order to completely meet your pet’s needs. This is because your smart thermostat can be accessed by your smart phone, tablet, or computer regardless of where you are.
Many smart thermostats are relatively inexpensive to purchase and install and offer energy savings for your home. Sometimes smart solutions are a complete no brainer; this is one of those cases!
Another struggle with busy pet parents can be ensuring you get home in time for their dinner. As pets thrive on routine, skipping or delaying feeding times can be to their detriment.
However, smart technology is now enabling owners to make feeding time happen from afar.
For example, the Petnet SmartFeeder is making waves due to its wealth of features, ease of use and low price tag. Not only can you dispense food from your smart phone, but you can also control how fast the food comes out of the feeder and into the bowl. This is helpful for dogs (and cats) who treat their mouths like vacuum cleaners, which in turn can lead to a dangerous amount of bloating.
In fact, these smart feeders are so smart that they can also notify owners when the food supply is running low, as well as offer completely customizable scheduling options. A welcome innovation for when your plate is full but you want your pets’ to be too!
Regardless of how well-trained your dog is, it’s simply not fair to force your pup to hold it in if you’re away from home for an extended period of time. Happily, smart home innovations have made it much simpler for your canine to go outside without fear of letting anything else in.
This is due to the wave of smart dog doors that have entered the market. These smart solutions go beyond the traditional doggy-doors by using radio waves to let your dog in and out. This is accomplished by a simple key that attaches to your dog’s collar and alerts these devices to open and close accordingly. Now your dog can take care of business regardless of your situation.
Above all else, you want your pet to be safe when you aren’t around. So how can smart security devices help you kick your worry to the curb?
“You’d be surprised about the number of calls and emails we get from people specifically asking about security for their pets,” says Jay Robertson from Home Security Company Protection 1. “It’s important to note that many systems you find aren’t specifically set up to monitor pets, which can cause false alarms and a lot of unnecessary worry. Utilizing sensitive motion detection is key.”
Further, a smart security system is important due to the fact that pet theft has increased each year since 2012. Many smart security solutions offer real time video feeds that can be accessed through any smart phone or computer at any given time.
From temperature setting to feeding scheduling and all the way to motion sensors, there are a lot of new answers for your smart pet concerns, ensuring that tail will be wagging for years to come.
This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for real estate tips and trends.
There are many reasons to build a deck in your yard. Besides the added value to your home, a deck gives you plenty of extra living space. Nothing is better than stepping outside onto a beautiful deck to enjoy a good meal, relax or entertain friends and family.
When choosing the appropriate deck style for your home, assess your living and entertaining needs. Do you enjoy eating outdoors? Do you throw parties often? Do you prefer to relax in the sun or under the shade? How many people live in your home? Will you have a grill or hot tub on the deck? Along with your personal needs, the size of your home and lot may also dictate the kind of deck you can install. A yard with an unusual shape or slope may call for a different style deck than a yard with a flat terrain. Start with these six options to find the deck that works best for your home.
An attached deck is connected to the house. This is the most common deck style, usually built at the back of the house, and can be raised or level with the yard. This deck gives you easy in-and-out access and becomes an extension of your interior living space.
An island deck is a free-standing deck installed away from the house and out in the yard. You might have an especially lovely cluster of trees and want to take advantage of the shade, or maybe there is a pond or flower garden next to which it makes sense to build a relaxing seating area. Maybe you simply want to create a “secret garden” deck away from your home. This deck is more an extension of your yard than of your house.
A floating deck is built on a platform and seems to “float” above the ground. The foundation and structure pieces are hidden underneath. A floating deck is low to the ground and can work on uneven or rocky terrain, as you don’t have to worry about leveling the area like you would with a concrete or stone patio.
A wraparound deck is built on two or more sides of the house. It allows you to take advantage of multiple views, and when one side of the house gets too sunny, you can move to the shade while remaining outdoors.
Multi-level or tiered decks are perfect for yards with steep slopes or uneven terrain, or for homes with two or more stories. Connected with a series of stairs or pathways, they take advantage of the great views a taller home has to offer and create several spots for entertaining and relaxing. Multi-level decks can also consist of wide stairs that lead down to the yard. Each stair is extended to become a mini-deck of its own, creating additional space for seating or entertaining.
If you have a grand old tree, consider building a deck around it. This style is similar to an island deck in that it’s not attached to the house. For a more natural look, add wood furniture and chairs for seating.
Get creative and have fun designing your new outdoor living space. Try built-in seating around the edge instead of traditional railings, add custom planters for an intimate flower or herb garden, or install an outdoor kitchen or fire pit on your deck. The ideas are endless!
As an interior designer, Merri Cvetan provides design advice for the inside and outside homes. She writes on a range of topics from creating a unique kitchen backsplash to designing a deck to fit your lifestyle. To see more ideas on deck planning, visit The Home Depot.
Think spring cleaning is just about vacuuming and dusting? Think again. Now’s the time to clear out anything you’re no longer in love with and give your decor a refresh. To help start that process, we’ve gathered the latest home trends for spring that are blowing up on Pinterest and Etsy, along with a few to ditch (see ya, chevron!).
Minimalism is in. While bright chevron patterns were huge a few years ago, we’ve noticed muted color palettes replacing all things colorful. In fact, black and white decor has increased 40 percent since last year alone on Pinterest.
From: Hall of Homes
Last year was about all things metallic. This spring, Etsy vendors are using the exact opposite texture in their goods, including oxidized metals, matte glazes, and chalk-finish paints. The best news? Matte-finished decor looks amazing next to metallic objects—so hang on to all of those luxe gold and copper items you picked up in 2015.
Matte Flat Black Industrial Pendant Light Fixture, $89.99; etsy.com
According to Pinterest, boho-chic style isn’t just for Coachella anymore. They’ve noticed people pinning macramé textiles 35 percent more than they were last year. Don’t know how to incorporate this 70s trend into your home? We’d love to take a nap in this crochet hammock. We’ll take that pool, too.
Beaded Jute Hammock, $148; anthropologie.com
Marble was huge at this year’s NY NOW showcase. But before you (and your wallet) freak out, this trend is all about small touches of luxury—think: candleholders, coasters, planters, and ultra-cool clocks.
Marble Wall Clock, $142.15; etsy.com
Going along with the less-is-more trend, people are trading their wooden wall art and monograms for sophisticated gray hardwood floors (Pins around this unexpected floor color have increased over 20 percent since 2015!).
From: Vosges Paris
While mudcloth and shibori textiles were everywhere in 2015, we’ve noticed that colorful embroidered and woven fabrics (think: vivid Guatemalan designs and Turkish Kilim pillows and rugs) have taken their place.
Kilim Pillow, $88; leifshop.com
Call it the Joanna Gaines effect, but modern and rustic farmhouse kitchens (like you’d see on HGTV’s Fixer Upper) are all over Pinterest these days, while Mediterranean-inspiredItalian kitchens are a thing of the past.
Compiled by Brooke McGrath
While performance is key for all appliances, style and name recognition also play a role. Top appliance manufacturers are continuing to evolve depending on the demand, which undoubtedly includes style preference—in all price points—ranging from sleek machines that sit flush with the cabinetry to those that sport bulkier handles and knobs. Take your pick from what local kitchen designers and appliance experts are calling the market’s hottest appliances for 2016.
The Who’s Who of Dishwashers
“I think the technology is now available that can overcome some barriers for folks,” says designer Kristeen Armstrong, owner of Armstrong Kitchens, which is why she chose Miele’s Generation 6000 Knock2Open integrated dishwasher (mieleusa.com or armstrongkitchens.com). Listed as one of 10 high-end appliances that are worth every penny by Consumer Reports, you simply open the door by knocking twice on the top third of the dishwasher front. (Don’t worry, it can’t be rattled by other noises that come from kitchen chaos.) Besides the smart technology, its handle-free design gives a clean, minimalist aesthetic to the space. These dishwashers also come equipped with the latest washing technology, including an option to switch to an extra quiet mode so as to not disturb dinnertime, and its automatic program uses only 6.5-liters of fresh water for an automatic wash, so it’s highly energy-efficient.
Another smart appliance sure to help those who need help around the kitchen, Armstrong recommends Bosch’s 30-inch double wall oven, which is designed to be installed flush with cabinetry (bosch-home.com or armstrongkitchens.com). Its side-opening door offers better ergonomic access, while the Color TFT control panel with SteelTouch buttons is extremely easy to use. Adding to its smart functions is a full-extension telescopic rack in the upper oven. Additional accessories include two standard oven racks, temperature probe and a broiler in the upper oven and three standard oven racks in the lower oven.
When it comes to making that holiday ham or Thanksgiving turkey, Lloyd Doolittle, sales/marketing manager for Doolittle Distributing, picks the Bertazzoni 30-inch magnetic induction range with self-cleaning oven (us.bertazzoni.com or ddius.com). “These ranges are ideal for the style-conscious cook who requires substantial cooking power in a range that’s easy to keep spotless,” says Doolittle. The smooth cook top includes four induction heating zones (booster feature, pan detection system and residual heat indicator for each zone), while the electric self-cleaning oven offers nine functions (from convection, baking and roasting to warming and includes telescopic glide shelves). Keep it classic in stainless steel ($4,199) or choose from six vibrant Italian colors ($5,099) to match your kitchen décor: arancio (orange), blanco (white), giallo (yellow), rosso (red, shown below), vino (burgundy) and nero (black).
Ovens seem to be all the range for the coming year. “Wolf’s built-in transitional convection steam oven is a very big seller,” says Amy Holdman, trade marketing specialist for Roth Living. “It comes in a 24- or 30-inch built-in unit, has a very healthy option for cooking and is so versatile. You can do something as simple as heat food or cook a chicken.” This convection steam oven (MSRP $4,330) has a 25 percent larger capacity than similar units (it fits a 15-pound turkey!) and has 10 different cooking modes to choose from: steam, auto steam bake, convection, convection humid, convection steam, gourmet, slow roast, reheat, recipes and keep warm. The oven even alerts you when your dish is perfectly done.
ShareTweetPinHoldman also recommends Wolf’s popular built-in coffee maker. “Stacking pieces is a very European style that is trending in the states,” she says. “People might stack a steam oven with a coffee maker below and a warming drawer below that.” And, though not new to the market, Sub-Zero’s integrated refrigeration columns that can be grouped by size—maybe a 24-inch freezer with a 36-inch fridge and an 18-inch wine unit, she suggests—will continue in popularity in 2016 (subzero-wolf.com or rothliving.com).
While designer Katie Ott, co-owner of Kitchen Studio: KC, agrees that steam ovens will be big in the coming year (and column refrigerators will keep their cool, too), there’s a wine station that she’s been dying to put in a kitchen. The Discovery WineStation by Dacor (dacor.com or kitchenstudiokc.com) is an automated, temperature-controlled, four-bottle wine dispenser and preservation system that will fit nicely in any kitchen, bar, game room, wine cellar, etc. This built-in wine station dispenses either a taste, a half glass or a full glass, keeping the wine stored properly and fresh for up to 60 days, Katie adds, so you can drink it at your leisure. “I love this wine station for both the wine connoisseur as well as the occasional wine drinker,” she says. “This machine keeps the wine fresh and at the perfect temperature, allowing you to take your time to enjoy your wine without feeling rushed to finish it all in one sitting.”
Clean as Can Be
Moving to the laundry room, most homeowners want a washer that will fully clean their clothes—without using an excessive amount of water. “What has been for the past several years and will be red hot for 2016 is Speed Queen Laundry,” Doolittle says (speedqueen.com or ddius.com). The world’s largest manufacturer of commercial laundry equipment, Speed Queen uses its same efficient commercial appliances within the residential laundry industry, except without the coin-op function. Its top-load washers completely submerge the clothes with a flex-vane agitator that rotates 105 degrees and are again fully submerged in the rinse cycle, not just sprayed. Using metal gears and stainless steel inner and outer tubs verses plastic, with commercial-grade timers, switches and electronic controls, they’re extremely durable and efficient. At eight loads per week, they’re built to last for 25 years (or 10,400 cycles)! And the warranties, depending on the model, will cover the appliances for years.
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