Browsing Historic Renovation

Corrigan Building Renovation Receives LEED Silver Designation from USGBC

The renovation of the historic Corrigan Building recently achieved the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification. Helix worked closely with co-developers Copaken Brooks and 3D Development to develop a design that preserves the historic character of the building while achieving their goals for a sustainability. The renovation of the Corrigan Building was the first phase of the larger Corrigan Station development.

The Corrigan Building was built in 1921 and is located prominently along the new Kansas City streetcar line at 19th & Walnut. The 10-story, 123,000-sq,-ft. building  houses nine stories of office space with one story of ground level retail. The client’s vision of rehabilitating this nearly 100-year-old building into modern, flexible workspace has resulted in a 100% leased building at completion, attracting tenants such as WeWork, Hollis & Miller and Holmes Murphy.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is an ecology-oriented building certification program, concentrating its efforts on improving performance across five key areas of environmental and human health: energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials selection, sustainable site development and water savings.

In addition to maintaining and reusing 97.8% of the existing structure and envelope the renovation also reduced CO2 emissions by 41%, reduced water usage by 24.3% and reduced overall building energy usage by 35%, all over a baseline model. Additional sustainability features include: integration of an efficient VRF (variable refrigerant flow) HVAC system, low-flow plumbing fixtures, daylighting and efficient all LED lighting and a solar panel array canopy on the roof.

“Corrigan Station’s LEED certification demonstrates tremendous green building leadership,” said Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC president and CEO. “The urgency of USGBC’s mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before, and Corrigan Station serves as a prime example with just how much we can accomplish.”

Construction is currently underway on Corrigan Station Phase II, also designed by Helix. Phase II includes an adjacent three-story structure at the corner of 19th and Main Street that provides additional retail space and covered parking on the first floor and office space on the second and third floors.

Helix had an incredible team of partners on the project — Straub Construction, Rosin Preservation, Lankford Fendler, PMA Engineering, SK Design Group and Vireo — that were instrumental to successfully delivering on the success of this large project. Congratulations to our clients on the revitalization of this historic gem and successful LEED Silver certification.

Photography by Bob Greenspan.


History of the Boley Building

Ten years ago, Andrews McMeel Universal (AMU), an international media and entertainment company, completed the renovation of the historically significant Boley building in the heart of Kansas City’s downtown for its new corporate headquarters. Needing additional space for their 200 plus employees, AMU incorporated the abandoned post-modern food court in the adjacent town center office building. The two opposing architectural environments became the challenge and inspiration for the workplace design, modern with a twist.

The six-story building was designed by acclaimed Kansas City architect Louis Curtiss and is one of the first buildings in the world to utilize a glass curtain wall system. At the time of completion in 1909, the curtain wall was an extraordinary structural design, and was not well-received aesthetically. Originally occupied by the clothing store Charles N. Boley, the building’s facade anticipated the future and popularity of curtain walls by 40 years.

In renovating the building, Helix developed a solution reflective of the whimsical and creative nature of AMU’s employees and the significant contributions the company has made to our culture through icons as Doonesbury, Ziggy and Cathy. Designed to stimulate synergy and inspire creativity, the contemporary, light-filled volume with its multi-story grand stair, expansive skylights and ground floor café, resonates with the energy of a company looking to the future while respecting its past.

The open office environment provides a variety of seating options, including lounges for small-group work. Touchdown meeting spaces off of elevator lobbies allows for quick and spontaneous conversation. Monitors provide opportunities to announce guests, upcoming events, and the latest weather and news. A large kitchen on the first floor is a favorite gathering place for employees, and it can also be used for larger community events.

Conference rooms provide technology infrastructure for meetings and group work. These rooms take advantage of the natural daylight that pours in through the skylight in the former food court.

Open workstations allow for easy collaboration. Custom shelving was designed to house AMU’s artwork and products. Marker and magnetic boards were accented with color to encourage self-expression and showcase employee creativity.

A central stair was introduced to promote synergy and well-being among company employees. The stair is wrapped in stretched fabric to allow daylight in, and it and utilizes LED lighting to represent the energy within.

Materials, color and furniture were chosen to tie together classic, elegant design with fun and play. We used bold colors to represent the playfulness of AMU’s work, as well as each business group encompassed within the company. The custom graphic wall-covering in coffee bars features bright colors and symbols of typography to represent the print side of the business. We also used wool fabrics – classic, long-wearing material in the same bold colors – on classic Knoll furniture pieces and wood (walnut) to represent the warmth and strength of organization.

AMU was recently featured in the Kansas City Business Journal for increasing net income by 40% in 2017. We’re delighted to see that ten years later, their headquarters is still serving AMU and their workforce well.


From Burlesque to Bulldozers: The History of Kansas City’s Folly Theater

The Folly Theater, Kansas City’s oldest standing theater, recently kicked off fundraising and plans to renovate their lobby and Shareholders lounge. In order to completely upgrade the theater’s hospitality experience, the Helix design team is re-opening the original connection between the second floor lounge and the lobby below, as well as reconfiguring the lobby to improve patrons’ flow throughout the space.

Original Standard Theater and program circa 1901.


Although Helix has renovated several of Kansas City’s historical theaters, the Folly’s history is unique among its peers. Opened in September 1900 as the Standard Theater, the venue first opened featuring Vaudeville. This entertainment genre was incredibly popular at the turn of the century and can be likened to an early version of a variety show, often featuring several acts including musicians, trained animals, comedians, acrobats, one-act plays and burlesque. The $250,000 building was designed by Kansas City architect Louis S. Curtiss (who is also known for his work on the Boley Building, home of Helix client Andrews McMeel Universal). A year after Standard Theater opened, the nearby Coates Opera House caught fire, and all opera and comedic opera performances were relocated to the theater, under its new name – Century Theater.

From top left, going clockwise: Architect Louis S. Curtiss, original architectural drawings, various vaudeville performance examples.


By 1922, vaudeville popularity had declined and the theater was closed, only to be re-opened the following year by the Shubert Brothers. The Schubert family is responsible for the establishment of the Broadway district in New York City and by 1924 they owned eighty-six theaters in the United States. Re-named (again) Shuberts Missouri, the new owners hired architect Herbert Krapp to renovate the balconies, reinforcing the wood structure with concrete, and began featuring theater productions throughout the mid 1920’s. Acts included The Marx Brothers, Shakespeare and O’Neill plays. The Shuberts subleased the space in 1928 to a burlesque troupe and in 1932 the theater was again closed.

From top, going clockwise: The Folly Theater circa 1941, a movie poster for the 1962 film Gypsy, the real Gypsy Rose Lee performs on stage.


The Folly Theater was born in 1941, and featured burlesque through two decades. Iconic burlesque dancer and entertainer Gypsy Rose Lee, whose memoirs were the basis for the stage musical and film Gypsy, is said to have taken the stage for the first time at the Folly. In 1958, ownership introduced movies to burlesque stage shows.

Finally in 1973 the theater closed and was slated for demolition. At this time, a local group of historic preservationist activists formed a non-profit, Performing Arts Foundation (PAC), led by Joan Dillon and William Deramus III. The group successfully saved the theater, with the City Council passing a demolition delay ordinance in March 1973. The theater was placed on the National Register of Historic Places the following year and purchased by PAC.

Images of the Folly Theater during renovations during the 1980’s and various members of PAC.


For nearly ten years, the theater underwent extensive renovations, including considerable cleaning efforts, plaster repair, window restoration, roof repair, new M/E/P, updated HVAC systems and the addition of a new wing. The theater re-opened in 1981 with a staff of eight, featuring the comedy “Room Service.” Since the grand rehabilitation of this historic gem, the Folly has gained a reputation in town for their niche market. The acoustics inside the theater have been compared to Carnegie Hall, attracting musical acts from blues bands to chamber ensembles.

New renderings of the downstairs lobby and upstairs Shareholders lounge, provided by Helix.


As the Folly embarks on this latest renovation, the Helix design concept aligns with the character and history of the original structure. The project is the centerpiece of a $1.55 million campaign, which has already made major strides with a $775,000 donation from the Kemper Foundation.

The design revitalizes the lobby and shareholders lounge through finishes, furniture and lighting, while dramatically improving the functionality. A new curved bar area and ticket counter will be the highlight of the first-floor space. The curves of the bar, inspired by design details in the original lobby and theatre, will extend upward in the curvature of the columns. New floor tile, reminiscent of the early 1900’s, will continue into the original lobby, tying both spaces together seamlessly. The updated layout of the ticket counter, bar and lobby restrooms will allow patrons to flow through the space more comfortably. A new stair will invite guests to visit the second-floor lounge both before and after the show. Similarly, the addition of an elevator will allow this space to be easily shared by everyone. Lastly, the addition of a small kitchen on the second floor will allow for events to be catered more easily.

We’re thrilled to be working with such a fantastic client on such a beautiful piece of Kansas City’s rich and colorful history. Head over to Folly Theater’s website to view their list of upcoming events.


Two Helix projects receive recognition for Historic Preservation

This week we celebrated the recognition of two deserving projects for their work in historic preservation. The Historic Kansas City Annual Preservation Awards and Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation’s 2018 Statewide Honor Awards both took place this week. Our clients Copaken Brooks, 3D Development and Gold Crown Properties were among those honored for their reinvestment in significant Kansas City landmark buildings. On Wednesday at the Historic Kansas City Preservation Awards, East 9 at Pickwick Plaza received excellence awards in Best Adaptive Re-Use and Neighborhood Stabilization, while the Corrigan Building renovation received a merit award in Best Adaptive Reuse. This morning, the East 9 at Pickwick Plaza received a Preserve Missouri Award from Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation.

Preserving these monumental buildings retains an important piece of Kansas City’s history while positioning them for use by future generations. It was a honor to work alongside the leaders at each of these organizations to breathe new life into these historic structures. Helix was also fortunate to have worked with the talented team at Rosin Preservation for both of these clients. A persistent advocate for preservation, these projects benefited greatly from Rosin’s expertise and guidance.

Corrigan Building

The Corrigan Building was built in 1921 and is the tallest office tower in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District. The Gateway Station Post Office historically anchored the first floor while the famous dressmaker, Donnelly Garment Company, occupied the upper floors. Since the time of its construction, the ten-story Corrigan Building has stood out in its setting, surrounded by low and mid-rise commercial and industrial buildings. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1981, the building suffered from low occupancy and a slow decline when larger trends shifted development towards the suburbs after World War II.

Spurred by construction of the Kansas City streetcar line, a joint venture between Copaken Brooks and 3D Development renovated the building into new offices with street level restaurant and retail space. Thoughtful design transformed the historic industrial spaces while retaining and reusing the building’s character-defining features to enhance the new uses. The building’s open floorplates morphed easily into communal and flexible office space for multi-floor and single-floor tenants, including the international co-working leader, WeWork. The rehab replaced non-historic windows with new windows that matched the multi-light industrial design of the original windows, which provide generous daylighting for interior spaces. New rooftop tenant amenity spaces took advantage of the historic elevator penthouse to capture views of downtown and the surrounding area.  

Photography: WeWork


The developers identified an appropriate use that revitalized a significant building in the Crossroads district, ensuring its continued use and creating synergy with the emerging streetcar transportation corridor. Fully leased at completion, the project successfully retained the exterior appearance and creatively used the historically open floorplates to create a catalyst for additional development in the Crossroads Arts District.

In addition to renovating the existing 123,000-sq,-ft. structure, Helix is designing an adjacent three-story structure at the corner of 19th and Main Street that provides additional retail space and covered parking on the first floor with Class A office space on the second and third floors. An event space will be added on the rooftop to serve building tenants.

East 9 at Pickwick Plaza

The historic Pickwick Plaza, built in 1930, is a landmark of downtown Kansas City and an early example of a mixed-use urban center. The massive 360,000 square-foot complex occupies three-quarters of a city block on the eastern edge of Kansas City’s business district.  The array of uses housed by the complex made it a destination in downtown Kansas City. These uses included offices, a hotel, a parking garage, a regional bus terminal, ground-level retail storefronts, a restaurant, and a radio studio. The hotel was famously a frequent retreat of President Harry S. Truman during the 1950’s. Shortly after the bus terminal and office block closed, the hotel was re-configured into low-income housing in 1972. It was later closed and abandoned as well. The historic structure sat vacant and dilapidated for many years before Gold Crown Properties began their decade-long effort to rehabilitate the historic complex in 2008.

Using a detailed model created from historic documents, the adaptive re-use converted the building into 260 apartment units with minimal changes to the historic character-defining features. Special care was given to retain the Art Deco styling on the exterior, to install historically appropriate windows, and to restore the iconic clocktower that rises above the bus terminal. An intrusive mezzanine was removed, allowing the project to recapture the historic two-story height of the lobby and to refurbish the high quality original finishes (terrazzo floors, marble columns, and plaster details on walls and ceilings). Reactivating retail space on three sides of the building at street level has brought pedestrian activity to the street, while reestablishing the historic complex as a mixed-use destination.

The developers overcame significant obstacles, including the Great Recession of 2008, on their nearly ten-year journey to bring this grand building back to life. In 2010, Gold Crown Properties bought the hotel, which had been Section 8 housing through the 1990s, and bus terminal, of which had been vacant for 60 years. It took another five years to acquire the property’s separately-owned north tower and garage before construction could begin. In addition to addressing the deteriorated condition of the complex, the developers faced challenges financing the extended project. Combining local incentives with federal and state historic tax credits helped bring the $66 million rehab project to its successful completion. The rehabilitated mixed-use building is fully occupied and providing a catalyst for revitalization in the eastern portion of downtown Kansas City.


Both of these projects stem from early leaders in Kansas City’s rich development history. Thanks to the investment of our clients, people will continue to experience their beauty, craftsmanship and iconic presence in our community for years to come. 

Photography by Bob Greenspan, unless otherwise noted.


26 February, 2018 | Historic Renovation, Renovation, Workplace

Kansas City Crossroads: Taylor Building History + Renovation

The Taylor Building renovation was completed ten years ago. This turn-of-the-century dry goods building was built in 1902 by Root & Siemens. With the majority of its original exterior features intact and in good condition, the building retains a high degree of historical integrity. Today, the building is home to creative agency Bishop McCann, an industry leader in producing meetings, incentive programs and events worldwide.  

Using boutique hotels as inspiration for the design, the historic building was modernized while adhering to the national Parks Services standards for historic renovations. A sleek and modern elliptical staircase was inserted into the center of the “lobby” space, becoming the counterpoint to the rough masonry shell. Private offices, meeting spaces and a large communal gathering space spiral off the stair, now the social center point for this highly successful and fast-growing company. A 20 ft. chandelier was custom designed to further accentuate the hospitality aesthetic, and a deck was added to the rooftop to accommodate a resort-like meeting destination.

Bishop McCann has now become an event space in itself, hosting community events and celebrity guests. Michelle Obama chose this space for her headquarters during the 2008 presidential campaign.


31 January, 2018 | Historic Renovation, Renovation

Kansas City Crossroads Revitalization 15 Years Later

Fifteen years ago we celebrated the opening of the Webster House after a complete renovation that restored the historic character of this architectural gem. The project was the first of numerous completed by Shirley Bush Helzberg in the Crossroads Arts District. Since that time, vacant buildings and empty lots throughout the Crossroads have been transformed into one of Kansas City’s most vibrant neighborhoods. From that first project, we have had the opportunity to work alongside Helzberg as she has invested in the neighborhood, block by block, restoring buildings and inserting new structures.

One of the many places that her investment is evident is at the intersection of 17th and Wyandotte, where Helzberg has revitalized all four corners. This intersection was once part of Kansas City’s historic Film Row, where every major Hollywood Studio had distribution offices from the 1920’s to the 1960’s. After the film houses moved out, many of these buildings sat vacant or substantially underutilized until they were acquired by Helzberg.

The projects on these four corners merge past and future to create a bustling business district by day and a thriving cultural district at night.

Webster House (Northwest Corner)

Helix designed the adaptive reuse of the historic Webster House School, the oldest standing school building remaining in Kansas City, into a restaurant and boutique. Originally designed by local architect Manual Diaz in 1885 and constructed the same year, the Queen Anne Style educational facility was rescued by Helzberg from years of neglect and disrepair. The main level of the three-story facility features fine antique galleries and retail showrooms. The second floor features a full-service dining room, a pub and a large-capacity catering kitchen. Original classrooms are now used for banquets, receptions and meetings.

The project, which received federal and state historic tax credits, was designed in accordance with the National Parks Service (NPS) guidelines for historic preservation.The masonry-and-wood exterior was completely restored to its original condition, which included the reconstruction of the original bell tower. Many of the interior finishes, such as the grand stair, were recreated with reference to their original character. Other features, like the stained-glass windows, were reconstructed with historical accuracy.

 

Vitagraph Building (Southeast Corner)

Constructed in 1930 by the Warner Brothers, the Vitagraph Film Exchange Building underwent a full-scale renovation in 2012. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Art Deco structure was originally designed as a film warehouse and distribution facility and is now home to the offices of the Kansas City Symphony and the headquarters for Global Prairie, an integrated communications firm.

The Helix team designed the project in accordance with NPS guidelines for historic preservation and achieved LEED Gold Certification, one of only eight buildings at the time to achieve this level in Kansas City. Unique historic features of the structure were carefully reconstructed, including the building’s original decorative plaster, terrazzo floors, marble and limestone finishes, as well as the distinctive cast-in-place structural grid that features decorative concrete ceilings throughout. A new 40-space, two-level parking structure built adjacent to the Vitagraph Building provides covered parking as well as a green roof terrace that serves tenants.

 

Webster Garage (Northeast Corner)

The Webster Garage was built to support three underserved entities nearby: The Webster House, the Vitagraph Building, and members of the Kansas City Symphony Orchestra that perform in the adjacent Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Strategically located between the three user groups, the structure, which houses 185 cars, freed up once-utilized parking lots for new and more dense development. Retail space along 17th Street has an adjacent courtyard surrounded by planter beds. Work from a prominent local artist is integrated into the structure. Concrete and masonry materials were selected to provide both durability and an aesthetic that relates to the surrounding neighborhood.

 

1700-1710 Wyandotte (Southwest Corner)

The three buildings from 1700-1710 Wyandotte were renovated into modern office space that house new tenants to the Crossroads Arts District. 1700 Wyandotte was formerly owned by Universal Studios and operated as the Midwest storage and distribution for the Midwest. The two properties at 1706 and 1710 needed considerable work and were consolidated into one larger office building. All three buildings underwent complete renovations, including exterior restoration, new buildings systems and the addition of rooftop terraces with views of the Crossroads neighborhood and downtown Kansas City as an amenity for tenants.

As the neighborhood continues to welcome new businesses, residents and cultural assets we are proud to work alongside trailblazers like Helzberg who have helped make the Crossroads what it is today.


Missouri State University Historic Renovation Merges Past and Present

For many, fall means back to school, but for Missouri State University, it also marks the beginning of construction on Hill Hall’s renovation.

At 92 years old, Hill Hall is one of the three original buildings on the campus’s historic quadrangle. Originally completed in 1924, the building carries a tremendous amount of history within its walls. Designed by President Clyde M. Hill, the Education Building is one of the most-widely copied designs in the United States.

From its early days as the Education Building to today, the exterior has stood the test of time. However, like most historic buildings, the interior environment no longer serves the university’s modern needs. Missouri State University knew they wanted a space that was flexible, reflected the building’s history, improved accessibility and created departmental adjacencies. Helix Architecture + Design was hired to assist the university with renovating this important structure.

Hill Hall is used by the College of Education and the Department of Psychology. Spaces for the multiple user groups were not adjacent to one another, but spread throughout the building, which made wayfinding and creating a true home-base for students a challenge. To ensure the renovated layout was easier to navigate, the Helix team worked with all user groups to develop a clear program for the space. They improved wayfinding throughout by increasing transparency, providing places for signage, locating core elements in the same location on each floor and improving departmental adjacencies. The new signage provided opportunities to highlight each group’s identity as well.

One of the biggest challenges that came with renovating the space was improving accessibility. The existing building did not provide a clear path for all building users, which made getting to and from class difficult. Creating an accessible route required connecting the entrances on the first floors with a series of ramps, but this key change will make the first floor area more open, connected, inviting and accessible for all visitors.

Both the School of Education and the Department of Psychology also wanted to make the building more student-centric. The existing building offered very few places for students to gather, study, relax or socialize. The Helix team was able to create a specific space for this, playfully located in an old pool that had been converted into a storage areaand was underutilized for decades. The new plans include a lounge space, computer labs and small study rooms. This space greatly enhances the building by allowing students to gather outside of the classroom to study, collaborate and better utilize technology resources.

Faculty also wanted to make their offices more welcoming and conducive to meeting with students. This meant creating places that were easier to find and more approachable. To ensure the completed space can evolve along with faculty needs, the new offices allow for growth and change, without focusing on hierarchy. Classrooms also provide flexibility for faculty to modify the rooms as pedagogy and technology continually evolves.

Preserving the historical elements of Hill Hall was important to the entire team. The original central circulation stair that connects the floors was maintained, along with the original terrazzo floors in many areas.

With construction underway, Hill Hall will offer new benefits to students and faculty just in time for the 2018 school year. Improved accessibility, the addition of social/study spaces and the reorganized layout deliver a student-centric design, while still honoring the building’s historic past.


History Behind Kansas City’s Pickwick Plaza – Opening Today After $65-Million Renovation

History_Pickwick

One of Kansas City’s earliest and largest mixed-use developments, Pickwick Plaza has a rich history as a downtown destination and transportation hub. Although the structure was substantially underutilized throughout the late 20th-century, the renovation of this iconic structure to its former glory is celebrating its grand opening today.

The large mixed-use complex, located at 9-10th & McGee streets, originally housed the Pickwick Hotel, an office building, a parking garage and one of the largest bus terminals west of the Mississippi. Designed in 1929 by Wight & Wight, the building is one of many prominent civic buildings designed by the Kansas City firm – including City Hall, the Jackson County Courthouse and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art.

History_Pickwick2

The mixed-use nature of the original building, including the hotel, office spaces, the bus terminal, retail — all within close proximity to the major governmental Kansas City buildings, anticipated a much greater future trend in mixed-use developments. The complex served business and government officials, locals and visitors, with many amenities all under one roof and a cohesive streetscape and exterior presence. In 1930, prominent radio stations KMBC and WHB relocated their operations into 11th floor penthouse addition atop the hotel building – broadcasting from that location until 1968.

The Pickwick Hotel was considered the place to stay when conducting business downtown or with government officials and was most notably known as a frequent retreat of Harry S. Truman during his early career with Jackson County government. His time in the hotel was largely spent writing what would later be known as the “Pickwick Papers” — a biographical mix of personal and political thoughts. The hotel remained operational throughout both World Wars and aided in Kansas City’s growth. During that period from the 30’s-50’s, the bus terminal saw nearly 5,000 bus departures per month.

Before_Shots_PickwickThe historic Pickwick Hotel lobby as it was in 1930, and the existing conditions at the beginning of our renovation & restoration process.

Many downtown buildings were torn down during the 1950-70’s, but luckily much of the exterior and primary interior spaces of Pickwick Plaza remained untouched. Following suburban flight and the national decline of downtown dwelling and public transportation in the 1960’s, the building was converted into subsidized housing in 1972. The 233 units were often under-occupied and eventually left empty until a fire took a toll on the building in 1996.

The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001 and ultimately purchased by Gold Crown Properties in 2013 with the intent of converting it into 260 market-rate apartments with amenities and rental rates that would attract young professionals.

Renderings_Pickwick

Helix partnered with Rosin Preservation to restore historic elements throughout the building. The lobby was restored to its original two-story height, allowing natural daylight to infiltrate the space. Large, historic windows maximize natural daylighting, reducing the need for artificial lighting in the units. To maintain consistency with the original character of the building and bring vibrancy to the surrounding area, Helix re-introduced street-side retail space, which has recently signed tenants such as UPS, a wine bar + restaurant concept by Cellar Rat and CityGym.

The new East 9 at Pickwick Plaza  apartments feature a combination of traditional and unique amenities that are targeted towards downtown dwellers: a workout facility, a salt-water pool (located where the bus depot once was), garage parking, an office center, community room, on-grade retail, rooftop green space, high-efficiency appliances, washer/dryer hook-ups and walk-in closets. In line with the current “sharing economy” trend (think Uber and Airbnb), the City of Kansas City and developers have partnered with Zipcar — a national car-sharing company, allowing tenants to pay a monthly fee for usage of shared cars.

With its combination of residential, retail and office space, this iconic structure is once again an anchor development within the government district. We are proud to work alongside visionary developers like Gold Crown Properties to restore this historic landmark and continue to propel downtown Kansas City’s redevelopment.


Historic Warehouse Converted into Luxury, Boutique Apartments

Helix recently completed design of the adaptive reuse of 1509 Walnut, a historic warehouse in the heart of the Crossroads district. Built in 1902, the five-story, brick building was designed by James Oliver Hogg and was home to several businesses for over 100 years, including Grand Avenue Storage Company and Atlas Storage and Warehouse.

This historic building has Romanesque Revival elements, and the exterior had remained largely untouched other than alterations to the first story facade in 1958.

The original architect for the building, J.O. Hogg, was born in Wisconsin around 1858 and arrived in Kansas City in 1886. Throughout the course of his career, he designed mostly commercial and storage buildings. Some of his work included the Advance Thresher Company building at 1300 Liberty Avenue, the Harry Abernathy residence at 3600 Madison Street and the Daniel Dyer residence near the Blue Valley Industrial District, which was destroyed in 1940.

The building retained the majority of its historic integrity over the years, and with little opportunities to add parking, the space remained untouched after Berlau vacated. Jeff Krum, CEO of Boulevard Brewing Company, along with Sunflower Development Group and Helix Architecture + Design, determined the building could be converted into boutique-style apartments, if a parking deck was placed over an adjacent lot. With that decision, the team began work on the design of Atlas, which began leasing in May.

The 32,000-square-foot building now includes 16, one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments. Residents occupy floors one through five in apartment units that include large unique floor plans, high-end finishes, lots of storage and private balconies. The penthouse units feature spiral staircases, leading to rooftop patios with extraordinary views of the downtown skyline. Some of the other amenities include solariums, a wine cellar in the basement, fitness room and dedicated parking. Two street-level retail spaces occupy the street frontage.

While the interior has been completely updated, the design team worked to preserve the building’s past. The façade has been fully restored, and each apartment is designed to showcase the historic components, including exposed brick walls, original concrete floors, heavy timber beams and even an old loading dock and door in one unit. This adaptive reuse project was designed in accordance with National Park Service guidelines and qualified for federal and state historic tax credits.

The design team partnered with Carpenter Collective on the branding of the new development, creating external signage and wayfinding throughout the building.

We’re proud to continually restore historic buildings in the Crossroads, adding to the ongoing revitalization of downtown Kansas City. Congratulations to our development partners and the entire design team!

Photography by Bob Greenspan. Furniture provided by Plus Modern Design.


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