Redevelopment of Power & Light Building is a go

08/22/2014 12:07 PM

08/22/2014 8:04 PM

Redevelopment of the historic Kansas City Power & Light Co. skyscraper has cleared its last big obstacle, and renovation that will create more than 200 apartments is expected to begin in October.

The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority on Thursday approved a 25-year property tax incentive package on the improved value of the mostly vacant 36-story downtown tower at 14th Street and Baltimore Avenue.

The abatement will be about a third of the total abatement value, which was not specified, because of reimbursements to the school district, library and other jurisdictions.

NorthPoint Development, the project’s developer, still has to complete development agreements with the authority and Kansas City, but the Riverside company does not expect any problems.

The first apartments should be available by the end of 2015, and the project is expected to be completed by mid-2016. The project is expected to cost $63.6 million, and financing has already been arranged.

Mark Pomerenke, a vice president at NorthPoint, said Friday that the project had been challenging but definitely worth it.

“We’re looking forward to cleaning it up and lighting it back up,” he said.

The project calls for redeveloping the Power & Light Building into 217 apartments. The ground floor, which has 18,000 square feet, could be used for a restaurant or an event area, but no decision on that has been made, Pomerenke said.

The 32nd floor of the building will be turned into a clubhouse and lounge. That floor opens onto an outdoor terrace that will be used.

“It will be spectacular,” said Pomerenke.

The project also calls for constructing an adjacent building that will include a parking garage, retail and 58 more apartments.

The building opened in 1931 and was the tallest in Missouri for decades. It lost its namesake tenant, Kansas City Power & Light Co., in 1991. Previous attempts to redevelop it fell through, in part because of challenges in redoing the space in the historic building. The building has been owned by the Shulman family of New York since 1964.

The iconic art deco building was once easily identifiable even at night because of colored lighting that illuminated its top floors. Those lights have been long extinguished but will return when energy-efficient LEDs are installed, Pomerenke said.

To reach Steve Everly, call 816-234-4455 or send email to severly@kcstar.com.

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