An ambitious renovation project with high standards to meet, the historic Commerce Tower is a 33-story “vertical neighborhood,” housing a mix of residential, commercial and mechanical elements. With 355 market-rate apartments and forward-thinking amenities, such as a daycare, an early childhood learning center, an undergraduate/graduate university, indoor dog park, theater, greenspace and restaurants, the building was designed to attract a broad demographic. With its location tying into the city’s new streetcar project, the project serves as a connector to the rest of downtown Kansas City.
There is a strong energy efficiency component to this project; LEED Silver is anticipated, and the building is taking part in the Kansas City energy benchmarking program. It’s also part of the HUD green initiative program. The Ryan team drew on expertise with regulatory bodies of all kinds to integrate the rules and regulations related to tax incentives, MBE/WBE goals, National Historic Registry listing, LEED certification, HUD and more.
Throughout design and construction, the Ryan team applied our real estate management savvy to consider long-term operations and ownership costs in every decision. The project was named Capstone Building of the Year by Kansas City Business Journal.
After the acquisition of a historic building by a Midwestern developer, Ryan was selected to help decide the building’s future. The Miesian-style structure dates to 1964 and contains the first glass curtain wall structure west of the Mississippi—a significant feature for its time. Added to this, legend has it that Harry S. Truman signed the final steel topping off beam.
With the building designated as historic, the project became feasible for the developer. As architect of record, Ryan A+E drew up the plans and mapped out the budgets, ensuring that the converted structure would not only be beautiful and functional, but financially sustainable. This included a $10 million asbestos abatement initiative. Working side by side with the development team, we leveraged our experience and expertise in assisting the often complicated pursuit of historic tax credits, while making sure design and construction continues to adhere to strict guidelines for the preservation of the historic aspects of the building.