KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A few buildings with historic designations on a prominent east side corner of Kansas City are on the market.
This comes after discussions about what the city and neighborhood want, what the owner wants, and what’s possible.
“Well, it was a breath of fresh air, I have to say, because the neighborhood’s been working and hopeful for so long, and we were wondering what’s going to happen,” Union Hill Neighborhood Association President Stacy Garrett said.
That’s because Garrett and her neighborhood association want to keep the historic building on the corner, which also doubles as the gateway to her community.
“We’re in historic Union Hill,” Garrett said. “We’ve lovingly restored our homes to be of the era.”
But the current ownership for the batch of buildings on the northeast corner of the intersection had previously floated knocking the buildings down and replacing them with a tall, mixed-use building.
The city created a historic district in the area, delaying any demolition over the wishes of the owner.
Councilmember Eric Bunch was part of that effort and sent a statement about the property going up for sale to FOX4, saying:
“The door is open to discuss adaptive reuse of the property, but preservation of the historic buildings will be required in any development moving forward. I’m excited for the potential of this site, and I am remaining hopeful that a much-needed dense residential development will be considered along the streetcar line.”
The current owners didn’t return FOX4’s efforts to speak with them through their realtor, but the listing brochure says: “Due to excessive deferred maintenance, it is not financially feasible to renovate any of the existing buildings.”
Union Hills Neighborhood Association Board Member Alex East says other experts disagree and think that there are still options to preserve at least some of the historic elements of the corner.
“We know that there’s some challenges with some aspects of the building, but we also know there’s a lot of advantages to saving a historic building,” East said.
It’s particularly important to the group because the KC Streetcar Extension is putting the second stop south of Union Station right on the building’s front doorstep, likely bringing more investment and definitely bringing more pedestrians.
“We voted for this specific streetcar stop and 31st and Main. We actually argued for it during the planning phase because we view this as the entrance to our neighborhood,” Garrett said.
East says the historic nature of the buildings means they’re designed to be a welcoming spot for pedestrians, who don’t have much room to walk right now because of construction and more modern development.
“If you look around right now, we’re in rush hour, and it’s just cars. You don’t see people out here,” East said.
The sale isn’t expected to move quickly because sales like this one usually take a long time to complete, and the Streetcar Extension isn’t expected to start moving passengers until 2025.