DEVELOPING BEACON HILL
ARCHITECT and BUILDER – RANDY AND JANE KIETZMAN
I met Randy and Jane Kietzman when they were selling their home on the Westside. A spectacular three level home with unique design details that I had not seen before; exposed steel beams, wire mesh, cork flooring, windows everywhere and an outdoor space on the third floor that overlooked downtown, the Crossroads and beyond.
Jane told me they were selling the house and moving to Beacon Hill where they would build a new home and develop Beacon Hill.
“We actually bought our first lot in Beacon Hill in 2006 but because infrastructure was not completely in place yet, we were forced to wait to begin construction. Anxious to build, we literally drove past lots at 20th and Summit on the Westside as the owner was putting a for sale sign in the ground – we stopped and wrote him a check! We were living in Johnson County at the time but found ourselves downtown at galleries and restaurants, and we felt very at home with the vibrancy of the City. Our kids were grown… timing was perfect. We loved that house on the Westside, but our intention was always to develop Beacon Hill.”
EAST OF TROOST
East of Troost Avenue can be a hard sell in Kansas City. When I am selling homes in midtown, people always inquire about Troost. In recent years, the Squire Park neighborhood at 39th and Troost is thriving with lots of young couples buying homes and moving back into the neighborhood. The Troostwood neighborhood at 49th and Troost has always been a stable neighborhood, full of college students and urban dwellers. I asked Jane if at anytime they were concerned developing “East of Troost” and how they knew that Beacon Hill was worth the time and investment.
“We never saw ‘East of Troost’ as a gamble, rather a fantastic opportunity. We felt that this part of our City would become a magnificent place to live and work. We are builders and a skyline view is the only thing we cannot produce. Here it was for the taking! It had immediate access to all interstates, all new underground utilities, and 25 years of tax abatement, and we can be parked and walking into the KauffmanCenter in under 10 minutes. We have never been ones to place much value on what other people think is a great/foolish investment, and refuse to be guided by fear. We moved into our current Beacon Hill home in 2011, and we both office from the house. It is rather like living over the shop. There are benefits to being so close to the job site, but sometimes impossible to escape as well!”
How many homes are you building in Beacon Hill?
“In the current phase where we are building, there are 20 new home lots, all of which are sold and will be developed within the next three years. We have finished four; three of which we sold and occupied and the fourth just hit the market. We have six more lots, and will start another if the winter ever finishes! Our other developers have purchased the remaining lots – one is mid construction, two are ready to break ground.”
So how much money has Kansas City put behind Beacon Hill?
“Lots… we have no idea, but the investment and dedication from City Hall has been monumental and crucial to the area’s success. While our single family home construction is not subsidized, the continuing encouragement that we receive from the City Manager’s Office is invaluable.”
UMKC is currently building housing for their medical and dental students and a 35,000 square foot grocery store is on the horizon, what else does the future hold for Beacon Hill?
“We are really excited about the Student Housing and the activity it will bring to the neighborhood. Truman Medical Center is spearheading the grocery store project which is very welcome, and on the drawing board now. We expect coffee shops and other services will follow. Other developers have grand ideas, but probably would not appreciate us telling their secrets!”
Currently townhomes are being developed in Beacon Hill by master developers The Zimmer Corporation, Taliaferro and Brown, and JE Dunn.
“Beacon Hill will develop in phases – As one phase sell out, the master developers in conjunction with the City, and Economic Development Corporation will open a new phase,” Jane concluded.
Next week I will show you the spectacular homes being built in Beacon Hill, one that is currently on the market, and tell you more about Jane and Randy Kietzman and their company KIETZMAN URBAN HOMES.