Board of Zoning Adjustments saves buildings from demolition - KCTV5 News


Board of Zoning Adjustments saves historic buildings from demolition

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Dozens showed up on Tuesday for a Kansas City committee meeting concerning four old buildings. Some want to tear them down, but others say they're a part of history.

Mac Properties purchased several lots in the 100 block of West Armour Boulevard shortly before the housing market collapse of 2008. Representatives for Mac and the Historic Preservation Commission spoke before the Board of Zoning Adjustment on Tuesday.

The company said the buildings are too expensive to repair, and they cannot find investors to fund the nearly $4 million in necessary repair.

Mac Properties previously asked the Historic Preservation Commission for permission to tear down the buildings, but the company was denied.

So Mac appealed the decision. Representatives from the company point out that nearly all of Mac's properties are historic, but that the ones on West Armour Boulevard are too far deteriorated.

"The property failed. It failed with several lenders and investors and it failed due to economic unfeasibility," said Charles Renner with Husch Blackwell, the law firm representing Mac Properties.

The company said it has lost millions of dollars in upkeep alone, and that the buildings are now unable to be sold and beyond feasible repair.

Historic societies oppose the demolition in part because the buildings were designed in the early 1900s by John McKecknie, one of Kansas City's founding architects. Opponents of the demolition say they represent the soul of Kansas City's Hyde Park District and that Mac hasn't explored all of its options.

"If they don't understand historic preservation of these beautiful, wonderful buildings along Armour. We feel Armour is a gateway into our historic community and those buildings are part of the historic fabric that keeps intact the Armour Boulevard," said Martin Phillips with the Old Hyde Park District.

The Board of Zoning Adjustment decided not to let Mac Properties demolish the historic buildings for three years.

"It feels good that the BZA ultimately decided to uphold the preservation commission decision. We feel like that original decision was correct. They are experienced and credentialed people in the field, and we were happy with the outcome," said Amanda Crawley with the Historic Kansas City Foundation.

"We were a little surprised. We're going to evaluate all of our options following this and kind of go from there. But I think we'll want to process what exactly happened here," Renner said.

The buildings are empty. No one has lived in them for more than five years.

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