A proposed Whole Foods market at 51st and Oak streets is the first in Kansas City, Mo.
It will also be the first grocery store within a comfortable walking distance from the Volker campus.
Included in this mixed use project are approximately 150 units of market-rate (non-subsidized) apartments above the store, featuring a parking garage for residents.
The project will also include a surface parking lot for Whole Foods and office space for UMKC health services, currently located in the 4825 Troost building.
“I would say that it is still in the development [stage] because there are contingencies that need to be resolved before we can say 100 percent for sure that it’s happening,” said Robert Simmons, assistant vice chancellor of administration.
Simmons said the development fits well into the campus’s master plan, which urges cohesion with the surrounding community. Partnerships will be a mesh of private and public developers, similar to the private partnership involved in the development of the Oak Place Apartments.
The site is presently home to the Kansas City Young Matron’s Historic Club House, the UMKC Annex building and a metered surface parking lot.
The annex building will be demolished.
Arrangements have also been made to relocate the KCYM club house.
“UMKC and the Young Matron’s club would do a land swap where we would acquire their land, they’re clubhouse would actually be relocated to a new piece of land,” Simmons said.” UMKC wouldn’t own [that] land.”
The site will be the southwest corner of the School of Education parking lot on Cherry Street, facing Epperson House.
“They’re very supportive of the idea,” Simmons said. “It puts them in an area you would expect to see a clubhouse.”
Details were established a couple years ago when discussion of this project first surfaced, but would only proceed with the surefire confirmation of the market’s construction.
Simmons refrains from using the term “luxury” to explain the housing above the Whole Foods Market.
“The housing will be market rate, but will be towards the upper end of market rate,” he said. “It is important to remember that even though they’re may be some students who can and will be able to afford to live in this, it is not being constructed as student housing.”
However, he noted that the project will provide employment opportunities for students.
Following finalization of all details, construction could begin as early as spring 2013, although this is not set in stone.
Simmons said once construction begins, the project will take an estimated 12-18 months to complete.