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Kansas City Power and Light Building
Kansas City Power and Light Building
October 26, 2016 4:30 PM CDT

Historic Downtown Kansas City Landmark Restored, Repurposed

PROSOCO’s ReVive gives life to revitalized downtown KC scene

By

With 150,000 square feet of limestone standing 34 stories high, the Kansas City Power & Light building has prominently adorned the city’s downtown skyline since its construction in 1931.

The historic Art Deco-style building at 1330 Baltimore Ave., designed by Hoit, Price and Barnes, held the record of Missouri’s tallest habitable structure for 45 years, from 1931 to 1976.

By 2014, the original owner, Kansas City Power & Light Co., had long left the building, and the final tenant had just moved out. Its future was at risk, like so many empty and atrophied buildings in major metros across the U.S.

Having changed ownership more than once over the span of just a few years, the building suffered from deferred maintenance as well as atmospheric and ferrous stains on its masonry exterior.

Under the current ownership of NorthPoint Development, a massive, $64-million interior and exterior restoration began in early 2015 to convert the structure into offices and 217 loft apartments. The project was celebrated by the city — instead of sitting empty and continuing to decay, or worse, the building would be repurposed and put into reuse to contribute positively to a revitalized and thriving downtown community.

Later in 2015, general contractor Neighbors Construction gave the nod to Concrete & Masonry Restoration (C&M Restoration) to complete a restoration of the building’s limestone exterior, including stain removal, miscellaneous repointing of defective mortar joints, nearly 20,000 linear feet of limestone repointing, and 231 limestone patches of spalled stone from ferrous metal strap anchors.

Workers from C&M Restoration applied PROSOCO’s ReVive cleaner with controlled pressure-washing.
Workers from C&M Restoration applied PROSOCO’s ReVive cleaner with controlled pressure-washing.
“Too clean” isn’t usually an issue on masonry cleaning projects. But the owner didn’t want the building to appear immaculate. While performing test panels of all products used on the restoration, C&M Restoration took special considerations to get the right level of effectiveness. One prewash product was ruled out because it got the limestone cleaner than the owner’s liking, according to Bill Thomas, owner of C&M Restoration.

“We had samples that were even more extraordinary than the results that we were contracted to deliver,” he said. “But that’s not what they wanted. There was a point where they didn’t want us to go too far.”

Test panels had actually been performed by PROSOCO and C&M Restoration 10 years ago — back when the project had another owner and entirely different scope. Products tested to satisfactory results 10 years ago but weren’t ultimately used due to updated technologies that occurred over the last decade.

C&M Restoration used swing-stage scaffolding to access the exterior’s 41 drops, rigging it, inspecting each area with an architect from the project design firm, BNIM, determining the extent of the work, performing the work and finally re-inspecting the work again with the architect before moving on to the next drop.

Before work could begin in spring 2015, Neighbors Construction cordoned off the building and its surrounding sidewalks. Workers from C&M Restoration applied PROSOCO’s ReVive cleaner with controlled pressure-washing and let it sit before using a brush to remove stains from the limestone.

The restoration was scheduled for completion by the end of 2015, and the project exceeded the owner’s expectations. No accidents, injuries, complaints, etched glass or any other issues occurred during the 8-month exterior restoration, the project manager reported.

Loft apartments and other spaces were expected to be available in the first half of 2016.


About the Author

PROSOCO, Incorporated is a custom formulator of specialty cleaners and protective treatments for masonry and concrete. For more information visit www.prosoco.com.

 

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