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Iconic Western Auto sign to relight the Kansas City skyline

The iconic Western Auto sign, seen in this file photo, is being restored and should come back to life in mid-to-late summer 2018.
The iconic Western Auto sign, seen in this file photo, is being restored and should come back to life in mid-to-late summer 2018. File

The downtown Kansas City skyline will soon again be lit by the familiar sign atop the Western Auto Building.

The Western Auto Lofts Condominium Association said work has begun to repair the iconic sign and convert it to LED, a process that could take until mid-to-late summer. The work is being done by local company Infinity Sign Systems.

“The foremost concern for the repairs the association faces is completing them safely, while also preserving the integrity of this iconic landmark and over 100-year-old building, which to so many Kansas City residents means home,” said an announcement from the condominium association and property management firm Copaken Brooks.

The 73-foot tall neon and bulb sign atop the 12-story, distinctively curved building at 2107 Grand Blvd. has been dark for years. The cost of maintaining the sign falls on the building’s owners, including the condominium residents.

The structure was built in 1915 as the Coca-Cola building and became the Western Auto Building in 1951. A year later, the sign was installed. The national auto parts chain was founded in Kansas City.

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The Western Auto Building was built in 1915. The Kansas City Star File

A 150-foot-long arrow wraps around the words “Western Auto” that themselves are 10 feet high. The sign incorporates about 1,000 feet of neon glass tubing and about 2,500 bulbs.

The privately owned building was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1988 and was redeveloped into condos about 15 years ago.

The condominium association did not announce how much the restoration and operation of the sign would cost. The work will also include removing the old catwalk structure behind the sign and replacing it with a more modern design.

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