Historic Redevelopment

Oggi Lofts redevelopment brings 25 market rate units to downtown KC

The former Oggi Modern Furnishings building at 600 Central St. in downtown Kansas City’s former Garment District has found new life as Oggi Lofts, a 25-unit market-rate apartment project.

Ted Murray of Colliers International teamed up with Andy Homoly of Homoly Construction on the $6.7 million redevelopment designed by architecture firm Clockwork Architecture + Design. Rosin Preservation helped secure historic tax credits for conversion of the 110-year old, five-story brick building located on the National Register of Historic Places.

As with any historic redevelopment, Oggi Lofts offered its share of surprises and conundrums.

“Anytime you get into an older building that needs to be gutted, there are always surprises,” said Murray, who pursued the project independent of his role as Co-CEO of Colliers’ Kansas City office. “This project was so different and really created a need for problem solving during the construction process.”

For example, the building’s entire stair tower required full replacement, yet historic preservation standards required that the original hardwood flooring remain. Another hurdle involved successfully obtaining approval from the National Park Service to add windows on the north side of the brick building. But perhaps the biggest challenge involved designing and constructing units around the building’s many columns, which could not be touched in the name of structural integrity.

“We had to conserve space, and Andy (Homoly) and the construction team really thought through how to integrate all the vertical columns into the various units,” Murray told MetroWire Media during a tour of the project.

A hallmark of Oggi Lofts is a rooftop deck with panoramic views of the Missouri River, and Charles B. Wheeler Downtown Airport. The property includes a basement fitness center and dedicated storage units as well as on-street parking and door locks and utilities with smartphone access. With rents between $1,000 to $2,265, each unit includes hardwood flooring, onyx countertops, and washer/dryer.

For Murray, the historic redevelopment was a refreshing departure from his work with Colliers, which involves primarily office, retail and industrial leasing and sales.

“This has been so much fun,” Murray said. “I love downtown and I’m just thrilled with how this turned out. It’s been a labor of love.”

Oggi Modern Furnishings vacated the property in 2007. Tax abatements were approved through Kansas City’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA).

Rosin Preservation savors winning streak despite tax credit uncertainty

Rosin Preservation will close out 2018 with a string of high-profile projects despite uncertainty surrounding Missouri’s historic tax credit program. In October alone, four of the firm’s Downtown Kansas City historic preservation projects will open, beginning with Foutch Brothers LLC’s $39 million redevelopment of Kemper Arena into HyVee Arena, a youth and amateur sports hub.

With $1.6 billion in completed projects over the past 20 years, CEO Elizabeth Rosin said that securing a historic designation for the 1970’s-era venue was among the most challenging projects the firm has undertaken. Although construction took about a year, it took over three years to secure the arena's place on the National Registry of Historic Places.

“The building is less than 50 years old, so we had to figure out why it was historically significant other than its architecture and engineering,” Rosin said. “We ended up talking about its importance as a cultural and social icon for Kansas City because of the wide range of events held there for an entire generation. Everybody has a memory of Kemper Arena, whether it’s Big 12 Basketball, the American Royal, a concert, circus, convention or some other sporting event.”

The redevelopment of the iconic and beloved Savoy Hotel into the 21c Museum Hotel, replete with curated gallery spaced and art installations, was equally challenging. Rosin said the Savoy, which reopened in July, was in much rougher shape than most people realized.

“There are always surprises when you get into a building, and this one-- because of its age-- had a few more surprises so there were plenty of questions to deal with on the fly,” Rosin said. “A big part of our job was making sure that the elements that contributed to the Savoy’s sense of history and the character of the building were preserved.”

The hotel was constructed in five stages between the 1880’s and 1917, which meant it had several types of molding and doors that needed attention and preservation.

“The challenge was helping people understand what all those elements were and what needed to be protected and why-- and then figuring out how to meld that into the building,” Rosin said.

Additional Rosin Preservation projects completed this month include the renovation of the former Brookfield Building into Hotel Indigo, the former Pabst and Pendergast Buildings redeveloped into the Crossroads Hotel, and the old Jensen Salsbery Lab transformed into the new headquarters of Centric Projects and Superior Bowen.

This fall, the old Downtown Lee’s Summit Post Office reopened as the Bridge Space co-working facility, and Rosin also is working on renovating and restoring the Longview Mansion and barns. 

The good news for Rosin and those in the business of preserving historic buildings is that although lawmakers have scaled back funding for Missouri’s historic tax credit program from $140 million to $120 million a year, it remains intact for now. However, it’s unclear how new guidelines will affect the program.

“The bill also included a requirement that DED (Missouri Department of Economic Development) evaluate the ‘net fiscal benefit of applications,’ and we are still waiting to find out what that means,” Rosin said.

Rosin Preservation has completed over $1.6 billion in historic tax credit construction nationwide. Additional noteworthy projects include the Oklahoma State Capitol and the Empire State Building in New York City.

Photo Credit: Brad Finch, f-stop Photography

Delaware Street Project developer adds Plexpod, promises more announcements

The addition of co-working concept Plexpod to the Delaware Street Project in the River Market is central to Epoch Developments’ overall strategy as it builds a walkable, creative district along the KC Streetcar line just north of I-70.

“Plexpod’s unique collaborative co-working community is exactly the type of tenant we’re hoping to attract,” Epoch Developments Founder Craig Slawson explained. “You can’t just lay products on the table and expect someone to be sucked into the space. You have to have something interesting to help curate a better experience for everyone.”

Co-working is one leg of a three-legged stool required for successful community activation and livelihood, according to Slawson, who lives in Denver but has long-standing family ties to the River Market area. The other legs of the stool are bars/restaurants and merchants.

Epoch owns 10 of the 18 street-facing buildings on historic Delaware Street and is about halfway through the redevelopment process. Slawson expects to make several new announcements by the end of the year-including an occupant for a streetcar donated by the City and tenants for existing storefront space and new construction.

Plexpod's new 8,000+ square foot space located on the first and second floors of 510 Delaware will open in December and be the company's fourth metro-area location, according to a release. 

“We see River Market and namely Delaware Street as one of the leading emerging hot spots of amenities, which is ideal for our Plexpod member community,” said Gerald Smith, founder and CEO. "This new facility will be another great collaboration location for Plexpod member-companies across the metro to access and enjoy.”   

Plexpod facilities in The CrossroadsWestport and Lenexa offer 16 types of work styles ranging from open desks and collaborative workspaces to private offices and team spaces. The concept features meeting rooms, photography studios and performance theaters as well as personal amenities including outdoor space, social events and fitness options.

City Club groundbreaking reinvents Hereford House site

The $76 million City Club Apartments Crossroads mixed-use community broke ground ground Wednesday, signaling new life for the landmark Hereford House site at 20th and Main streets in Downtown Kansas City.

Integrated into the historic Midwest Hotel, the 7-story multifamily building will include 283 apartments and penthouses and feature international design, rooftop dining, an outdoor theater, and 50 floor plans.

"Kansas City is proud to be home to the next exciting development from City Club Apartments," Kansas City Mayor Sly James told attendees at the groundbreaking.

City Club Apartments has retail and restaurant tenants lined up for the project, with announcements pending. City Club has $500 million currently under development in more than a half-dozen U.S. markets.

Bridge Space connects Lee's Summit's past with present coworking trend

Downtown Lee’s Summit officially joins the coworking movement with the Wednesday opening of Bridge Space, a 14,000-square foot redevelopment of the city’s historic U.S. Post Office.

Bridge Space includes 34 private offices, 12 dedicated desks, 6 state-of-the-art conference rooms, and 3,000-square feet of open coworking space, as well as a 2,000-square foot event space with mezzanine and balcony.

Longtime Downtown Lee’s Summit resident and serial entrepreneur Ben Rao led and championed the redevelopment effort, which involved the arduous process of securing a spot on the national historic registry.

“This entire project for me was very personal and very intentional,” Rao said. “I wanted to exploit the walkability of Downtown Lee’s Summit. There’s a real quality of life here.”

Rao envisioned a startup facility that would attract economic development in Lee’s Summit by encouraging companies to incubate businesses in their hometown. It’s a concept that Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council President Rick McDowell agreed is much needed.

“A coworking facility like Bridge Space has been a desire of Lee’s Summit for some time,” McDowell said. “The LSEDC looks forward to helping entrepreneurs who may get started in Bridge Space grow their businesses and increase their capital investment and workforce in Lee’s Summit.”

The Bridge Space redevelopment was made possible through state and national historic tax credits, as well as $200,000 in city incentives granted through the LCRA (Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority.)

“This is really an economic development play- completely- to the point that I’m getting calls from other cities. They want to talk about how we did this in Downtown Lee’s Summit,” Rao said.

Bridge Space amenities include a member lounge, large kitchen, café area with free coffee for members. Conference rooms are loaded with 55-inch 4K TVs and multiple hardwire and internet connections.

More than 500 people registered in advance to attend Bridge Space’s grand opening Wednesday night.