The city council plans and zoning committee today voted against historic status for the three buildings attributed to architect Nelle Peters.
The vote comes after the Historic Preservation Commission and the City Plan Commission voted to recommend adding the buildings the city Nelle Peters Thematic Historic District.
That could have prevented demolition for three years if the city council approves it.
But a motion to do that today by Councilwoman Katheryn Shields died for lack of a second in the plans and zoning committee.
Councilwoman Heather Hall moved for denial and councilmen Scott Taylor, Quinton Lucas and Lee Barnes voted with her.
That would seem to be the end of an effort by the Historic Kansas City Foundation to save the buildings that Price Brothers Development has filed to demolish.
The measure for historic designation still goes to the full council later this month but will need nine of 13 votes to pass, and today four council members voted against it.
A key factor in the committee vote was that the developer paid $3.6 million for the buildings when they did not have historic designation.
That made it unfeasible to renovate the buildings at 4228,4730 and 4734 Summit, the developers argued.
Hall and Barnes questioned the fairness of making the developers lose money.
“If someone has invested their money and there’s not a way for them to get their money back…,” Barnes said.
He also said he wondered why the buildings were not given historic designation years ago.
Jim Bowers, attorney for the developers, said the request for the designation now was improper and amounted to unconstitutional taking of property.
Doug Price said he bought the buildings intending to tear them down for a large project that is still taking shape.
“I just told my staff to tear it down and I didn’t think anything of it,” he said. “It was a boarding house when it was built ….,” he said of the cluster of three buildings.
Advocates argued for saving what were among few remnants of working class housing in the Plaza area and to save the work of Peters.
Bowers said that many of her other works are already preserved, including those in her existing historic district and the Ambassador Hotel in Midtown.