KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The latest attempt to demolish a 7,300-square-foot historic home in Kansas City has failed.
The Kansas City Historic Preservation Commission denied the homeowners’ request Friday morning, but the fight isn’t over yet.
The owners of the George B. Richards mansion at 45th and Warwick, west of the Nelson Atkins Museum, said they want to tear it down and sell the land.
Steve Vawter said he’s under contract with a developer who wants to build apartments on the property after the home is torn down. But a recent designation making the home historic has thrown a wrench in things.
In letters sent to city committees, Vawter and his brother said the cost to renovate the home is over $1 million — on the low end.
Jackson County records show the property is worth a little less than that.
“The basement door was broken out. There’s more over this way,” said Vawter, showing what he said has happened after the frequent work of thieves, vagrants and vandals.
He no longer lives in the home, and no other single family homes still exist in the immediate surrounding neighborhood.
But the Southmoreland Neighborhood Association said the home is still part of the neighborhood, and it’s been fighting the Vawters’ plans to tear down the home.
“We feel strongly that there needs to be more consideration before just willy-nilly demolishing things,” said Laura Burkhalter, Southmoreland Neighborhood Association President.
It successfully petitioned to have the home added to the Kansas City Register of Historic Places.
“They filed a historic nomination one day before we were hoping to get our demolition permit,” Vawter said.
Owners of the nearby Truitt boutique hotel have offered to buy the home for $1.25 million and restore it for hotel guests to stay in, but Vawter called it a lowball offer.
Vawter said he’s been offered significantly more for just the land. He added fixing it up is “not economically feasible,” with restoration estimates of up to $1.9 million.
But even with their request denied Friday, the Vawter brothers aren’t giving up yet.
The owners will have a hearing next month for an economic hardship request for the demolition, a city spokesperson said.