Three Kansas City business owners are bringing two historic buildings that sit across the street from the Kansas City Workhouse Jail on 2000 Vine St. back to life.
Shomari Benton, Jason Parson and Tim Duggan plan to transform the vacant buildings into a mixed-use office and retail development, with opportunities for local food and retail business incubators and community gathering spaces.
Vine Street Brewing, soon to be the first Black-owned brewery in Kansas City, will also have a space in the project’s south building.
“Historic preservation allows us to stand out from other locations,” Benton said. “I think there’s a natural attraction to places that take a stance of preservation and honor its uniqueness based on that particular architectural form for that city or region.”
The two buildings at 2000 Vine Street, formerly housing Kansas City’s Water and Street departments, have been abandoned since the late 1970’s, Duggan said.
Before the trio got into the renovation, the two buildings had been on the City’s dangerous buildings list, making them unsafe to occupy. They got to work and started fixing collapsed roofs, boarded-up windows and overgrown plants.
Duggan, who bought an abandoned historic home in Beacon Hills with his wife, said renovating older buildings like these adds another level of sustainability to Kansas City.
“Reusing, restoring and conserving [gives] direct opportunities to the community on so many levels,” Duggan said.
The buildings will be less expensive to lease due to how long they have been around, Benton said.
“If we don’t preserve these spaces and we simply rely on new construction that prices out many folks’ abilities to live, work and play in the city or neighborhood they know and love,” Benton said.
Benton, an attorney with the firm of Benton, Lloyd and Chung, along with Duggan, who works with Phronesis, a local landscape and architectural design firm, both said they are committed to preserving historic buildings in Kansas City.
Benton, who also sits on the Kansas City Museum Foundation Board, said they have been hard at work restoring another historic structure, Corinthian Hall, to reopen the museum this fall.
“People are moving Northeast forward – whether it be by preservation, new construction, cultural events and places – the Northeast is having a moment,” Benton said. “Vine (Street) can play some role in that space given that it’s a next-door neighbor.”
The Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood also received $179,000 of Public Improvement Advisory Committee (PIAC) grant funding for Phase I of the Colonnade restoration. The PIAC funding is a citizen driven process requiring residents to petition the city for project funds.
The Colonnade at Concourse Park was built in 1908 and is a historic art structure made with cut limestone and reinforced concrete. The structure is in need of many repairs for safety, and the roofing and ceiling are in various stages of decay. Repairs for the structure will include new trellises, clay roof tiles, decorative ceilings, new concrete rails, security cameras and repair of some of the floor surfaces.
“A lot of historic structures we’ve had are very old parts of the parks system,” said Kansas City Parks and Recreation Interim Director Roosevelt Lyons. “It’s not only important to preserve the history but for the neighborhood and the residents that live down there to have a well-maintained space.”
The Sarah Rector Home at 2000 E. 12th street – recently received $75,000 in grant funding from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. This funding, according to a press release, is said to be dedicated to Rector’s legacy and home.
Rector accumulated millions of dollars after her father leased her allotted 160 acres of land in Oklahoma to the Devonian Oil Company of Pittsburg. In 1913, wells drilled on her land were able to produce 2500 barrels of oil a day, which meant Rector received an income of $300 per day.
The grant will support stabilization and rehabilitation efforts for the Sarah Rector home.
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