A Garden City real estate company hopes to transform a closed Fulton Street hotel into an apartment complex with an emphasis on affordable, one-bedroom units in a hope to fulfill a local need for lower income housing.

Edwin Terry Pahls, of Blue Moon Real Estate LLC, in Garden City, plans to convert the closed hotel at 1502 E. Fulton St., formerly part of Sunflower Inn & Suites, into the 28-unit Blue Moon Apartments complex. He has so far filed to amend the zoning code to allow for apartments in C-2 general commercial zoning districts, which the Garden City Commission approved last week.

The Garden City Board of Zoning Appeals will consider Pahls' conditional use permit next month, said City Planner Melissa Dougherty-O’Hara.

If approved, Pahls will submit building plans to the city and ideally begin the building’s transition process in January. He said he hopes to begin accepting resident applications in March or April and open in April or May, weather permitting.

Pahls, who also owns Red Moon Real Estate, LLC, and Terry’s Handy Man Service LLC, owns and leases over 40 single-family houses in Garden City and has worked in real estate for more than 15 years, he said. This will be his first venture into apartment developent.

The converted Fulton Street apartments will largely be “efficiency apartments” similar to the layout of the current hotel, Pahls said. He said the complex will have 25 one-bedroom units, two two-bedroom units and one three-bedroom unit, all of which will have all utilities, Wi-Fi and cable TV included in the price of rent, as well as access to on-site coin-operated laundry facilities. Some rooms will be fully furnished with the former hotel’s furniture, including a refrigerator, stove, oven and dishwasher. Pahls is not yet sure if the complex will allow pets.

Pahls is currently expecting one-bedroom units to cost $650 a month, two-bedrooms $750 a month, and the three-bedroom unit $900 a month, all on month-to-month leases. All deposits will be equal to the rent.

The apartments will hopefully meet a demand for both one-bedroom apartments and lower income housing in Garden City, Pahls said, the latter of which he said is especially lacking. With month-to-month payments, the apartments could serve transient workers only staying in town a few months, students looking for affordable and flexible housing or low-income residents in need of more affordable rent, he said.

“People are on a lower-entry workplace. They’re just starting out finding a job. They don’t have a lot of money to spend for utilities and rent. It will fit their pocketbook … This is going to save them a lot of trouble,” Pahls said.

Included utilities would be a nice benefit not available in most local apartments, said Lona DuVall, president of the Finney County Economic Development Corp., adding that the complex could tend to the need for “studio apartment-type” housing not widely available in the city.

“Having something like that available leaves our actual family-style apartments available for families. So, that’s certainly a good thing when we can hit a niche that we’re not currently serving very much,” DuVall said.

With the addition of newer hotels along Kansas Avenue, some of the city’s older hotels are struggling, Pahls said. He said adding residential space in the largely commercial East Fulton Street could add foot traffic and revitalize the area.

In an effort to meet Garden City’s housing needs, the city has made pathways for other developments, including the Rural Housing Incentive District East Cambridge Square and The Hamptons housing divisions, which are comprised of single-family homes.

Dougherty-O’Hara said she felt the city was on the right track to fulfill the area’s housing needs through the incentive districts, but Pahls’ apartments could offer an affordable alternative to houses or other apartments in the city, many of which she said charged $700 or more a month.

“We do foresee that this will help alleviate some of the need for low- to middle-income housing. It will help fill that gap that maybe some of the other RHID developments, (which) are geared more toward that medium- to high-income. So, we do feel that by having the conditional use process for apartments, that it could fill that need…” Dougherty-O’Hara said.

The Board of Zoning Appeals will consider Pahls’ conditional use permit at its Dec. 11 meeting. At this time, Dougherty-O’Hara said she did not foresee any complications with that process.

 

Contact Amber Friend at afriend@gctelegram.com.