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Case Involving Demolished UMKC Student Housing On Oak Street Was Settled For $3 Million

The Oak Park Apartments of 5055 Oak St. will be demolished by the end of June.
Courtesy of University News
The Oak Park Apartments of 5055 Oak St. will be demolished by the end of June.

The companies involved in the construction of now-demolished student housing near the UMKC campus have agreed to pay $3 million to settle the University of Missouri’s lawsuit against them.

The lawsuit was dismissed this week after the parties reached the settlement, whose terms were confidential and not disclosed in court documents. But KCUR obtained details of the settlement after filing a Sunshine Act request with the university.

The settlement resolves negligence claims against the lead contractor, J.E. Dunn Construction Co., and six subcontracting companies that built the Oak Place Apartments at 5050 Oak, which housed nearly 500 UMKC students.

The 178-unit building was plagued with leaking pipes, mold and sagging floors and razed this past summer. Students were forced to vacate the building three years ago.

The university sued 34 defendants in 2018, accusing them of negligence and recklessness in the design and construction of the building. The lawsuit continues against other defendants who were involved in the building’s design, including architect Gould Evans Associates.

The settlement agreement was reached between the university and J.E. Dunn's and the subcontractors’ insurance carriers, Lexington Insurance Co. and Zurich American Insurance Co., after the case was submitted to arbitration. As part of the settlement, none of the companies admitted liability.

Besides J.E. Dunn, the settlement also releases Wolf Construction Co.; All State Mechanical Inc.; Advanced Plastering Systems Inc.; Hankins Services Inc.; Jayhawk Fire Sprinkler Co.; and Chamberlin Contracting Inc.

Oak Place Apartments opened in 2008, replacing an apartment complex, Twin Oaks, that had stood on the site for 60 years. The university purchased the building for student housing in 2012 for nearly $41 million.

Kansas City plans to extend its streetcar to an area close to the now vacant site. Plans for the site remain up in the air, but the university hopes that the streetcar extension will stimulate further development.

Editor’s note: KCUR is licensed to the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

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Dan was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. and moved to Kansas City with his family when he was eight years old. He majored in philosophy at Washington University in St. Louis and holds law and journalism degrees from Boston University. He has been an avid public radio listener for as long as he can remember – which these days isn’t very long… Dan has been a two-time finalist in The Gerald Loeb Awards for Distinguished Business and Financial Journalism, and has won multiple regional awards for his legal and health care coverage. Dan doesn't have any hobbies as such, but devours one to three books a week, assiduously works The New York Times Crossword puzzle Thursdays through Sundays and, for physical exercise, tries to get in a couple of rounds of racquetball per week.