Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2001

Topeka company ready to seek city approval

November 29, 2001

A Topeka-based developer is ready to move ahead with its proposal to build a 36-unit senior housing apartment complex southeast of the 83rd Street/Kill Creek Road intersection.

Don Cooper, vice president of Commercial Group, said company officials would share site plans for its proposed housing complex with City Engineer Mike Brungardt this week.

The company approached the city early this year with a more ambitious proposal. The company first asked that the city rezone property on 91st Street for a 48-unit multi-family housing complex. That rezoning request for the site south of the Intervet Inc. campus was rejected.

Also, Commercial Group first proposed the senior apartment complex include a 30-resident assisted living facility. The assisted living component was dropped at the request of Dr. Rob Hayes of Responsive Health Care, which is adding a new assisted living wing to the old Cedar Grove Nursing home. The Cedar Grove project, which will be known as Hillside Terrace, also includes renovating the existing building for use as a skilled-nursing facility. The Hillside Terrace renovation is before the De Soto Planning Commission this month.

Despite those setbacks, Commercial Group did get good news this summer when the Kansas Department of Housing and Commerce approved tax credits for its proposed De Soto senior apartments, Cooper said.

The successful tax credit application means all 36 units will be set aside for income eligible tenants, Cooper said. For 2000, the apartments would only be available for individuals earning $23,143 or less and or a two-person income of $26,448 or less.

"It's a little bit more in Johnson County than in Hamilton County," he said.

At the suggestion of the city, Commercial Group is seeking planned development rezoning for the property on which it will build the apartments. That gives the De Soto City Council the right to review the project's site plans.

The proposal may well earn opposition before the city council and the planning commission. When the apartment complex came before the city last spring, Charles Lawhead expressed concern that the senior housing complex would create problems at the busy intersection. The apartments should be built on one of the city's side streets, he said.

The 36-unit complex represents the company's first-phase development for the property, Cooper said. But he said it was too early to predict what future development might involve.

Cooper added Commercial Group hasn't given up on developing multi-family units somewhere in De Soto.

"If the opportunity come about and we could acquire the right property, we would have an interest," he said.

Earlier Commercial Group efforts were led by Sharad Doshi, who has since left the company, Cooper said.

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