The old Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City building at 925 Grand Blvd. is scheduled to be sold at a trustee auction next week, the apparent end of a five-year effort by developer Jason Townsend to revive the historic skyscraper.
By KEVIN COLLISON
The Kansas City Star
The 21-story tower, a downtown Kansas City landmark since 1921, is to be sold Monday at the Jackson County Courthouse, according to a notice in The Daily Record. Great Western Bank of Sioux Falls, S.D., holds a $14.3 million promissory note on the vacant property.
Townsend, who could not be reached for comment Wednesday, bought the building from the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City in 2005 for $12 million. The Kansas City Fed then leased the space until its new headquarters on Main Street near Penn Valley Park was completed in 2008.
The old Federal Reserve building has loomed large in Kansas City’s history. It was considered a huge boost to the city’s reputation when it was selected to be one of the 12 banking districts created in the Federal Reserve Act of 1913.
The building was designed by the famed Chicago architecture firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White in the Classical Revival style and was the tallest building in the city for several years.
For the first couple of years after the Fed moved out, Townsend tried to redevelop the building as a 155-unit residential condominium project called The Reserve. He received a 10-year property tax abatement from a city development agency to help finance his project and opened a sales office complete with model units.
The collapse of the condo market forced him to reconsider. In early 2009, he began leasing parking in the 480-space secure garage attached to the east side of the building. In 2011, he introduced a proposal to redevelop the property into a 306-room hotel and received a three-year extension on the tax abatement.
Officials at Great Western Bank could not be reached for comment about the auction.
The building is considered to be in excellent condition, and its accompanying parking garage makes it an ideal candidate for redevelopment, said Sean O’Byrne, vice president of business development for the Downtown Council. The tower was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
To reach Kevin Collison, call 816-234-4289 or send email to email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at kckansascity.