The 10-story Corrigan Building, one of the most prominent structures in the Crossroads Arts District, is slated for a $22 million redevelopment into 82 luxury apartments and a restaurant.
Developer Alan Waterman completed his purchase of the historic building at 1828 Walnut St. on Monday. Waterman said its panoramic views and location along the planned downtown Kansas City streetcar route — one of the stops will be nearby at 19th and Main streets — made the Corrigan particularly appealing.
“We feel 19th and Main is the heart of the Crossroads,” Waterman said Tuesday. “It stands alone with unobstructed views around it, which sets it apart.”
The Corrigan is 130 feet tall, and its lobby originally housed a post office. Nell Donnelly Reed, also known as Nelly Don, a pioneering woman in the clothing manufacturing industry, had her Donnelly Garment Co. there from 1927 to 1948. At the time it was one of the largest dress manufacturers in the United States.
It’s currently about 40 percent occupied by commercial tenants. The building has 10-foot-high windows on its south, east and west sides, which will provide ample natural light to residents. Plans also call for windows to be added to the north side facing the downtown skyline.
“It’s one of the biggest buildings in the Crossroads,” said Suzie Aron, president of the Crossroads Community Association. “It will be a special place. The windows are spectacular. They’ll all have an extraordinary view.”
The Corrigan is the latest of several apartment deals announced for downtown in recent months, most of them involving the renovation of former commercial buildings. With occupancies above 95 percent, the market continues to show strong demand.
Other big apartment projects in the works include renovations of the Pickwick, 261 units; Folgers, 151 units; Sweeney, 55; Midland, 68; Commerce Tower, 265; and Lucas Place, 130. New-construction projects include the 311-unit tower planned by The Cordish Cos. in the Power & Light District, and a 137-unit project being built in the River Market.
The developer of the Corrigan plans to seek some kind of tax incentives from the city, and will pursue federal and state historic tax credits for the project. The Corrigan was built in 1920 and is the National Register of Historic Places. Many redevelopment projects in the Crossroads, particularly residential developments, have used a property tax abatement to help their financing.
Waterman said he had several private investors backing the project. His development group spent $6 million to acquire the Corrigan plus two surface parking lots at 1805 Main St. and 1823 Walnut St. that will provide 91 spaces.
But the building’s connection to the planned streetcar route is what’s exciting to Matt Staub, a member of the streetcar authority.
“We’re thrilled,” Staub said. “It’s an affirmation of one of the most compelling reasons for streetcars. It’s not only transportation, it’s also an important driver of economic development that downtown Kansas City deserves and needs.”
The Corrigan’s connection with rail transit is embedded in its history.
It was built by the daughters of developer Thomas Corrigan, who along with his brother Bernard consolidated and bought the downtown street rail lines in the 1880s to create the Metropolitan Street Railway System, according to a history supplied by the developer.
If all goes according to plan, work on the Corrigan would begin in early 2015, with completion by the end of that year. The redevelopment calls for the building to be converted into six studio, 67 one-bedroom and nine two-bedroom apartments. The one-bedroom units would average 829 square feet with monthly rents expected around $1,200.
The first floor would be reserved for what’s being described as a premier restaurant that will also provide hotel-type room service to residents. Other amenities planned include a rooftop pool, club room and movie theater lounge.
The project will incorporate environmentally friendly design features, and the developers will be seeking a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design gold designation.