About a dozen years after he acquired a midtown office building on Broadway, Kansas City real estate developer Del Hedgepath says it’s “30 percent on its way” to being ready for residential tenants in mid-2016.
Hedgepath’s conversion of the 1920s-era Congress Building into Congress Lofts at 3535 Broadway has taken a long and sometimes tortured path. A major setback occurred in 2007 when the building’s attached parking garage was cited by the city for asbestos contamination.
The asbestos abatement was completed and major structural repairs were needed. In short, it took years before the HarenLaughlin construction crew was able to get beyond demolition to the renovation phase.
“We had to do a gut job down to the concrete shell,” Hedgepath said.
The conversion calls for 53 market-rate apartments on the four top floors with five retail spaces on the ground floor and 109 covered parking spaces. It required all new windows and mechanical systems plus extensive work on the parking garage. Hedgepath said the framing, wiring and plumbing are now completed for the apartments.
Congress Lofts will have about three-fourths one-bedroom and one-fourth two-bedroom units. The decor will be “modern with light industrial features,” according to plans drawn by NSPJ Architects.
The art-deco-style building once housed the popular Cafe Trio restaurant before it moved to the Country Club Plaza area in 2008. It also was a previous office for American City Business Journals Inc.
Hedgepath said he had been “vacating the property over time” until he could round up financing and work through the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority to obtain property tax abatement for what was described as a $10 million project.
The building, with a distinctive facade and a ground-floor expanse of windows, was built in 1925. It was designed by architects Robert Gornall and Joseph Ridgeway, who are credited with several other midtown buildings, including the Uptown Theater.
Local investors Michael K. Russell and William Worley had purchased the building in 1981 and undertaken a major renovation for office use. That project restored the building’s Indiana limestone facade and installed new windows and mechanical systems.
Russell and Worley deeded ownership of the property in 1988 to Mark Twain Kansas City Bank, which held the debt on the property. Hedgepath said he purchased the building 12 years ago from Andrea Carter and The Carter Group.