The historic Corrigan Building, named after a supporter of early rail transit in Kansas City, is linking its future to downtown’s new streetcar line.
The 10-story building at 1828 Walnut St. in the Crossroads Arts District was set to be redeveloped into luxury apartments. But the developers recently decided to take the project in a different direction.
The landmark building — featuring floor-to-ceiling windows — will be the centerpiece of a proposed $40 million-plus office project that includes a three-story addition that extends the structure to the streetcar line on Main Street and a 360-space parking garage, said Jon Copaken, a principal in the Copaken Brooks commercial real estate firm. Copaken Brooks is a co-developer on the project with Vince Bryant of 3D Development.
“This building’s got a lot of prominence, a lot of great views,” Copaken said. “It’s also in an area where people want to be.”
The Corrigan Building, which opened in 1921, is named after Thomas Corrigan, a Kansas City builder and real estate investor who was a key figure in downtown’s cable car system in the 1880s. Over the years, the building has been home to many enterprises, including a post office, the Donnelly Garment Co. and the Kansas City election board.
It’s about 30 percent occupied now, said Copaken.
“It’s kind of an ugly duckling because it hasn’t had any work done on it for such a long time,” Bryant said. “But its historical bones are in great shape.”
This new development plan includes a 35,000-square-foot three-story addition at the corner of 19th and Main streets. It would be near a streetcar stop for the 2.2-mile transit line scheduled to begin operation in 2016 between Crown Center and the River Market.
The first floor of the new building could be retail space and include some covered parking spaces, Copaken said. The second and third floors would be connected to the original Corrigan structure, providing additional office space. The parking garage would be directly east of the Corrigan on Walnut.
Copaken said the plans for a residential conversion were dropped because office space represents “a higher and better use for the site. Instead of 80 to 90 apartments, we might have 600 to 700 jobs” in that building.
Bryant said the developers will be seeking city incentives, particularly for the garage, and applications will be submitted soon. The developers also plan to apply for historic tax credits.
Bryant said marketing of the building began earlier this month and “we’ve already had 10 (potential) tenants walk through.”
According to Copaken, the property will need to be about 50 percent leased before development plans move forward. His timetable calls for construction to begin in July, with the opening in the summer of 2016.
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