Eight years ago, John Verstraete bought a West Plaza building in anticipation of the opening of a new office, hotel and retail complex that broke ground across the street that same year. He expected it would bring new traffic to the area.
By JOYCE SMITH
The Kansas City Star
But he says his investment, a medical spa called House of Elan, has turned into an eight-year nightmare. Although his troubles didnt get as much attention as JJs restaurant next door, Verstraete also had to watch the construction of the West Edge complex, its demolition and then reconstruction of the yet-to-open Plaza Vista. He, too, worried about falling debris and lack of parking caused by the project.
Now the House of Elan building at 906 W. 48th St., heavily damaged from Tuesdays explosion, may be beyond repair.
Verstraete sneaked inside Wednesday afternoon, hoping to grab his employees keys, purses, cell phones and keepsakes all left behind as they fled the building Tuesday just before the explosion. But officials asked him to leave before he could pack up anything.
The whole construction across the street has been a nightmare for Jimmy and me, he said, referring to JJs co-founder Jimmy Frantze. Weve been fighting this safety issue ever since this started.
House of Elan is just across a tiny alley from JJs. Verstraete turned the 25,000-square-foot building into a showplace for his medical salon and spa, which offered everything from Botox to facials. Five years ago he moved his medical offices to the building.
Now the businesses and their 15 employees will have to relocate.
Ive been getting calls all day today. I can still call prescriptions in, Verstraete said Wednesday. A couple of places are offering us free space, but I have to find out if my building is salvageable. I have no idea where we are going to go.
To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.