Kansas City is no stranger to transforming older buildings throughout greater Downtown into thriving residential communities.
From past efforts such as the BMA Tower, now One Park Place, and the Power & Light Apartments, to more recent successes such as the Flashcube luxury apartments and The Mark, developers have remade underused or vacant offices with thousands of new units over the past two decades, long before the pandemic sparked national headlines on the trend.
Some buildings better lend themselves to adaptive reuse projects than others. That’s based in part on how feasibly their floor plates can be repurposed for apartments, as well as the scope of remediation required for interior contaminants such as asbestos and — in some cases — significant restoration work needed after recurring break-ins and material thefts.
These nine buildings are among Kansas City’s remaining candidates for future multifamily conversions. Some have had past approvals for adaptive reuse plans, while others could emerge as conversion contenders in coming years. This partial list does not include residential conversions already underway, such as those at the former Midland office building or former AT&T Inc. headquarters, or with known active plans, such as those for the Kansas City Title and Trust Building and multiple buildings in the central West Bottoms.
The Aladdin Hotel opened in 1925 at 1215 Wyandotte St. and was renovated in 2006. But it closed at the pandemic’s onset in 2020 and lost its flag as a Holiday Inn. The 193-room hotel was put up for online auction through Ten-X Commercial in 2021 and later that year put under contract by a Canadian hospitality group, Skyline Investments Inc., but the sale did not close. Subsequent listing materials from CBRE have described the Aladdin Hotel as an ideal candidate for potential conversion to an alternative use, such as multifamily.
Blue KC headquarters
Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City this summer listed its longtime headquarters property for sale through Colliers International, ahead of plans to relocate to the 1400KC building by early 2025. Local real estate experts have said Blue KC’s offices at One Pershing Square could support numerous possibilities — new transit-oriented apartments among them — through a renovation or teardown, depending on future building studies. A project also could tie in with a future remake of the underused Washington Square Park just south.
Centennial and Poindexter buildings
SS&C Technologies Holdings Inc. began seeking buyers in March for almost 500,000 square feet of historic office space in the Centennial Building, at 210 W. 10th St., and Poindexter Building, at 330 W. Ninth St., both near Quality Hill. Marketing materials from JLL include SS&C-commissioned concepts for conversions of the Centennial and Poindexter buildings, built in 1950 and 1902, with 48 and 31 apartments, respectively, as an alternative to offices.
Former Federal Reserve building
A special use permit needed by Delta Quad Holdings LLC for its long-planned conversion of the 102-year-old former Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City headquarters into an Embassy Suites hotel will expire by July if the out-of-town developer fails to receive a building permit while “diligently” pursuing construction. Should its $182 million Grand Reserve plan fall through, the 21-story building at 925 Grand Blvd. conceivably could be pivoted to a multifamily project, so long as extensive interior damage can be repaired.
Flexible office company Expansive recently listed the eight-story Kessler Building at 1301 Oak St. for sale through CBRE. The 104-year-old building is offered as an office investment property, with its 43,239 square feet fully occupied by Chicago-based Expansive and multiple office tenants, while also boasting potential for future adaptive reuse for apartments or a hotel, according to listing materials. The Kessler Building sits near T-Mobile Center, multiple government buildings and the Kansas City Royals’ potential future ballpark site.
The historic 12-story Hotel Muehlebach at 1200 Baltimore Ave. was proposed for a 190-apartment conversion as part of a broader $159.6 million investment northeast of 13th and Wyandotte by Platform Ventures LLC. The city’s Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority approved an incentive package in late 2018, but since a 2020 developer update, the apartment plan for the 1915 hotel building, as well as a 14-story office building and new parking garage included in the project, have seen no public movement.
Cherry Hill KC LLC, an entity managed by Lawrence developer Bill Schulteis, since December 2020 has owned the 28-story Oak Tower at 324 E. 11th St., which opened as a 14-story building in 1920 and nine years later doubled in height. Schulteis in late 2021 told CitySceneKC that Oak Tower was around 30% occupied by several tenants and that historic tax credits were being explored for a potential conversion of remaining floors for mixed uses, such as residences. The developer could not be reached for an update earlier this year.
Florida-based Augustine Development Group secured incentives in November through the Port Authority of Kansas City for a $47.5 million renovation of the 12-story Scarritt Building — said to be the second of the city’s original skyscrapers — with 126 apartments plus more than 18,000 square feet of retail in the conjoined four-story Scarritt Arcade. More recently, however, Augustine scheduled the 1906 structures for auction Oct. 17-19 on RI Marketplace.