Historic Power & Light skyscraper hits another milestone

The Kansas City Star

Construction workers are a month into turning the historic Kansas City Power & Light Co. skyscraper into apartments, and on Monday the renovation was made official.

About 50 city officials, business executives and downtown Kansas City supporters turned out for a ground-breaking ceremony at the building, which has struggled since KCP&L left it in 1991 and been dogged by failed efforts to resurrect the iconic art deco property.

Now, with its future settled, the planned makeover was hailed as another step in the comeback of downtown Kansas City.

“This is going to be another jewel in our cap,” Mayor Sly James said at the event.

The $64 million project by NorthPoint Development Co. in Riverside calls for transforming the building at 14th Street and Baltimore Avenue into 217 apartments. The company said it also was in discussions about attracting a restaurant on the first floor of the 36-story structure.

One- and two-bedroom apartments will range from 600 to 1,500 square feet with monthly rents starting at roughly $1,000 to $3,500.

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

A model apartment in the tower is expected to be open by January, and the first residents should arrive next summer. The renovation is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.

Construction of the adjacent building is to be finished in the first part of 2016.

The Power & Light building was once easily identifiable even at night because of colored lighting at its top. Those lights will return when energy-efficient LEDs are installed.

NorthPoint executives said the Power & Light building and the 25-story One Light apartment building being built at 13th and Walnut streets by the Cordish Co. could be another turning point for downtown Kansas City. The new housing could encourage more residential construction that would “suck up” land now used for surface parking.

Mark Pomerenke, a vice president at NorthPoint, said the company became interested in the building a year ago and quickly fell in love with it.

“It’s a great moment for the Power & Light building,” he said.

To reach Steve Everly, call 816-234-4455 or send email to

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