Browsing Historic Renovation

10 January, 2012 | Historic Renovation

The Rochester Hotel

These days (and for the next 12 months or so) Helix is working on the Highland Place project, currently under construction, which includes the renovation of the historic Rochester Hotel and six houses in the 18th and Vine District. After many years of vacancy and exposure to the elements, the buildings show serious signs of deterioration. This project is extremely important to the 18th and Vine district because these are some of the last historic structures in the district – if they were to be demolished, the district’s historic status could be in jeopardy.

According to the Historic Markers Database, the Rochester, built in 1912-20, was the only hotel in Kansas City, Mo., where visiting African Americans could stay during the 1930s and ’40s. Because it is adjacent to the Mutual Musicians Foundation, this is the place where jazz artists such as Count Basie, Jimmy Rushing, and many others would have stayed during visits to the city. The hotel also provided accommodations for visiting teams for the Negro League.

The Rochester is being renovated into senior housing, and it will retain as much of the historic fabric as possible.

Here’s the hotel.

Hotel interior …

These are the houses across the street from the hotel, also currently under renovation.

View of downtown Kansas City from the roof of the hotel.

 

 


26 October, 2011 | Historic Renovation, In Progress

Tough on Grime

Back in August, our partners at Titan Construction began the exterior renovation of the Police Headquarters. Scope includes masonry restoration and cleaning, window replacement, and a new energy-efficient roof.  With the application of the cleaning products, the stone takes on a rusted look (bright orange streaking), which shows the presence of mold, algae and other biological growth on the surface and within the stone.

(We’ve been thinking … it’s kind of like when the police shine a black light on a crime scene, really. And we like to think of our work as somehow comparable to the work done by our super-tough crime-fighters. We don’t get to feel tough often, you know?)

In any case, the cleaning product will actually continue to clean the stone for several months as it penetrates into the stone. Brilliant! 

 

 


Historic O.H. Dean Building Renovation Incorporates Geothermal Technology

Construction continues on the renovation of the historic O.H. Dean building at 3635 Main Street. The Reeves-Wiedeman Company purchased the building and is making it their new headquarters. It’s a really great thing to see a 125 year old company move its headquarters back into KC’s urban core, where it was started.

These construction progress photos show an element of the building we are very excited about; those black tubes you see sticking out of the ground are actually the water loops that the building will use to heat and cool itself. By taking advantage of the constant ground temperature of 55-57 degrees, the building’s mechanical system will be super energy efficient. In all, 24 wells are spaced along the rear parking lot of the building, and each well is 300 feet deep! Energy savings will offset the added capital costs of this system in 5 years; after which the savings keep accumulating. When your intention is to buy a building and hold it long term, ground source heat pump systems are the way to go. And, the energy tax credits available today can make the payback even shorter.


Newly Released Vitagraph Tops the Box Office Charts

As Shirley Helzberg’s third big production in 10 years, the historic Vitagraph Film Exchange Building at 17th and Wyandotte proved to be her most challenging. Fighting through city reviews, permits, and TIF financing approval, Shirley persevered to create a true work of art in Crossroads. The call sheet included a utility pole disappearing act, new set lighting, and a long scene where a very cool parking garage just seemed to emerge from nowhere!

This is not the Vitagraph’s debut appearance. It has been associated with the film industry for years as a Warner Bros. warehouse/distribution facility. Today, however, the building’s leading anchor tenant role will be played by the Kansas City Symphony. Helix’s Trudy Faulkner and Jay Tomlinson who have worked with Shirley on prior productions will once again be added to the credits of another successful preservation of Kansas City history.

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Helix to Transform Trozzolo’s New Headquarters

Yeah yeah, crumbling interior, asbestos problems, improper plumbing, bla, bla, bla. Been there done that, says Helix. From the looks of this video, Trozzolo isn’t too worried either.

Trozzolo bought a “gem” and asked Helix to help remove the quotation marks.  It will probably take some late nights by Jeff, Lora, Mason, Jay, and Kathy, but this talented team will have the 5 story abandoned pile of $@*# whipped into shape before you can say “Gee Whiz Nice Building.”



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