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A New Development Downtown

Avatar photo by Casey Woods, Executive Director | July 6, 2017
Emporia Downtown Redevelopment Group, LLC announced a major new addition to downtown Emporia.  The Roosevelt Plaza & Lofts & Legacy Lofts, a new mixed use development containing forty-seven residential units and 2,700 square feet of commercial space will locate on the northeast corner of 11th Avenue and Commercial Street.
Cory Haag, the managing partner of the development group said the development will be very similar in appearance and setup to the Chelsea Plaza & Lofts, Granada Plaza & Lofts, and Kellogg Plaza & Lofts in Downtown.  Haag, stated “If you look across the United States, mixed-use developments like this revitalize and bring people to live in the heart of a community.  The downtown is the heart of a community and Emporia takes great pride in our downtown.  In-fill projects like this will spur future development and projects in the area.  Redeveloping this area will help make the vision of the Black & Gold District a reality.  We are looking forward to this project and believe it will have a tremendous impact on downtown, ESU, and the community.
Haag and his local investor group; Craig and Joyce French, Jim Shepherd, and Harry and Barb Haag, worked with Emporia Main Street, and the City of Emporia to build a cohesive development that met the vision set forth in the CID Plan proposed by Emporia Main Street and ratified by the City of Emporia in March 2014.  The Emporia State University Master Plan adopted in May reflected a desire for mixed use development on the northern blocks of Commercial Street.  Both plans encouraged investment in the Black and Gold Zone.  The Roosevelt Plaza & Lofts and Legacy Lofts will bring excitement to the Black and Gold District which is vital to both Emporia State University and Emporia Main Street.

The City of Emporia planned to remove a dilapidated gas station to create a development area and engage in sidewalk and curbing upgrades to facilitate additional growth in an area commonly

referred to as the “Black and Gold” zone.  Infrastructure upgrades and mixed use development were identified within the Community Initiated Development (CID) Plan adopted in March of 2014 and were part of the City’s Community Improvement Plan (CIP).  The planned infrastructure upgrades will now immediately facilitate a large scale redevelopment that the improvements were meant to stimulate.

The CID represents a master plan for downtown, including infrastructure improvements, design guidelines, market opportunity identification and incentives available for developers.  Emporia Main Street Director, Casey Woods, stated “Land use redevelopment plans are important documents to foster redevelopment, when the CID was first introduced, a lot of people couldn’t envision mixed use infill development in downtown, and now the plan has helped generate multiple developments that have helped Emporia in a variety of ways.”  The Emporia State University Master Plan also identified mixed use development in the “Black and Gold Zone”, and the two plans independently showcase opportunities for downtown redevelopment.

City Commissioner Danny Giefer had the following to say regarding the Roosevelt Plaza & Lofts

and Legacy Lofts project: “Four years ago we saw a defined need for housing and commercial development on the north end of Commercial Street, and we are extremely excited to see another development that addresses those issues.  The city adopted plans and goals and established partnerships that created wins for the city, Main Street and Emporia State University at minimal cost to the taxpayer.  Actually, we were able to solve some infrastructure issues in the area through this development that will create significant positive impacts for the community.  We spotted a need, created a plan and then followed through to develop a new property.”

Haag and his development group worked with the Emporia City Commission and City Management via assistance provided by Emporia Main Street to facilitate the development process.  The project required a Master Development Agreement, which represents process for Emporia designed to make development negotiations faster, easier and more transparent for developers and community officials.  “The CID plan identified development opportunities in the northern part of Commercial Street, and the City of Emporia committed to enhancing the infrastructure in the area to allow for the development of mixed-use projects like this.  This project will remove a dilapidated gas station and replace it with something that will benefit downtown.  This is a great development for Emporia, for ESU and for Main Street“, said Haag.
The City of Emporia made the “Black and Gold” zone a priority for redevelopment during their goal session in 2013.  Lyon County and the City of Emporia recently issued a joint proclamation identifying Emporia as a “University Community”, and stated their intentions of developing programs and incentives that can aid in the growth of Emporia State University and facilitate better connections to the community.  The Roosevelt Plaza & Lofts and Legacy Lofts is one example of the culmination of governmental and private efforts to enhance a major community asset; Emporia State University.

The mixed use buildings will cost approximately $4.2 million to construct, representing the largest ground-up private new construction project in the history of downtown Emporia.  The residential

density created by the project could have positive impacts for existing businesses and encourage more area redevelopment.  Woods, stated “We know that people that live in downtown environments spend about 40% of their disposable income in the downtown commercial area.  That means over $300,000 in spending for downtown businesses just from tenets of the development, and we anticipate more new businesses and living opportunities as a result of this project.”

Demolition and site clearing of the existing gas station will begin soon, and construction on the development will begin in January of 2018.  The expected completion date for the new mixed use development is spring of 2019.  Once construction begins, Cory Haag will begin the process of recruiting retail tenants to the first floor of the mixed use development.  Haag said “With the proximity of the Roosevelt Plaza to ESU and the mass residential units overhead, I believe that the commercial units are a great opportunity for a local business or franchise to locate in downtown.”
For more information on Haag Management Inc. Properties, please visit www.emporiarentals.com or call 620-343-6633.
For more information on development opportunities in Emporia, please visit www.emporiamainstreeet.com 

About the Author

Casey Woods, Executive Director

Before accepting the director position in March of 2009, Casey worked in both retail and agricultural jobs in the family businesses. A lifelong resident of the Emporia Area, Casey was a ten year volunteer for Emporia Main Street prior to his appointment as director. During that time he served as the board president and chair of the Economic Vitality Committee.

Casey also serves as a partner in PlaceMakers, LLC, a consulting firm that routinely works with both large and small communities, and their businesses, to promote sustainable economic growth through community and economic development practices. Casey consults with businesses, organizations and communities to understand their market capacity and fill vacant spaces. He has been involved in two projects that included crowdfunding as a part of their overall business funding strategies, Radius Brewing and Twin Rivers Winery & Gourmet Shoppe.