Endangered properties

Each year, the Historic Kansas City Foundation develops a list of the buildings most in danger of being lost due to demolition or neglect.

This year, as in many years, the majority of these properties are in Midtown Kansas City.

The Midtown KC Post is profiling these ten properties, as well as 18 others on the 2013 watch list.

Photographer Mike Sinclair is capturing images of these buildings to illustrate our series.

What is the most endangered list and why does it matter?

Like many of its counterparts across the country, the Historic Kansas City Foundation develops a list of most endangered properties each year.

“It’s a way of raising awareness,” says Executive Director Amanda Crawley.

The public (including readers of the Midtown KC Post) helped to develop the list by making nominations. The foundation fills out those nominations with others from its own board and volunteers, and then tallies up the votes.

The list turns out to be useful in several ways. Sometimes it sparks the interest of investors or causes owners to think about the importance of a building that has been ignored or neglected.

“The list also serves as a set of priorities for our organization,” says Crawley.

But in some cases, according to HKCF board member Greg Allen, “You see things on there that don’t necessarily have a solution.”
Overview of 2013 list

Most of the buildings on this year’s most endangered list are in Midtown. They include one house, the Victor Beutner House in the Squire Park neighborhood. The list also includes the Knickerbocker Apartments, Hawthorn Plaza Apartments, and the Midwest Hotel. The Lane Blueprint Building, one of the oldest in the Crossroads area, is also on the list, as is the entire Country Club Plaza.

One of the themes from the list is the danger to former residential hotels and luxury apartments such as the Knickerbocker Hotel in the Valentine neighborhood. These can be challenging to redevelop, although Allen says the successful reuse of several older apartments on Armour Boulevard and Broadway may spur more interest.

The Country Club Plaza is listed because nominators think it may be at risk of losing its historic integrity as original structures are altered or new development is built.

The Beutner House is an early modernist concrete house and part of a growing interest in mid century homes that may now be in danger.

Crawley says beyond Midtown, several properties on the list represent a new danger to older farmhouses in the northland.

The watch list includes Kemper Arena, KCI Airport, Film Row and several other properties in Midtown and beyond.

“Don’t overlook the watch list. It’s a draft of next year’s endangered list,” Allen says.

2013 Endangered Properties List