Former Federal Reserve Bank building in KC up for auction - KCTV5

Former Federal Reserve Bank building in downtown KC up for auction

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A historic piece of the Kansas City skyline is going up for auction Monday on the steps of the Jackson County courthouse.

A South Dakota bank holds the $14.3 million promissory note, but the hope is with a new owner the old Federal Reserve Bank will become a thriving part of downtown again.

Many who live and work in downtown want to see this vacant property used once again.

The building's history is well known, but what will happen next for the 21-story building remains unclear.

"It has a great history. It's really changed the reputation of the city once it was established," said Sean O'Byrne, vice president of business development for the Downtown Council.

The ornate architecture once housed the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. For the last seven years, the building has been in development.

In 2005, developer Jason Townsend tried to revive the historic building. The first plan involved 155-unit condo project.

Four years later, Townsend began leasing parking in the attached 480-space garage. A new plan emerged to turn the property into a 306-room hotel.

For both plans, Townsend received tax incentives but neither project panned out.

"The building is probably one of the best in all of downtown. The federal reserve and the folks who did property management did a wonderful job on maintaining it and the parking is second to none," O'Byrne said.

O'Byrne said the building will be two blocks away from the new street car system.

"We think it has a terrific opportunity for a wonderful conversion. It could be residential. It could be a hotel. It could be office or a combination of all three," he said. "We think it is going to see its brightest days ahead."

O'Byrne said a few years ago there were only 3,000 people living downtown. Now they have more than 19,000.

At one point in 2008, the Kansas City Federal Reserve leased the building while its new headquarters on Main Street was finished. In 2007, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The hope is that whoever buys the building will bring new life into downtown Kansas City.

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