By Kevin Collison
A proposal to restore the historic Mason Building at 1110 Grand and reopen it as a 35-room boutique hotel has returned, led by a developer with a similar hotel venture in Lincoln, Neb.
Nicholas Castaneda, a principal with the 49-room Kindler Hotel in downtown Lincoln, wants to redevelop the distinctive, copper-faced building on Grand built in 1906.
Its most recent ground floor tenant was the Zaina restaurant which relocated to Crown Center last year.
In an informational presentation to a City Council committee last week, attorney Doug Stone said the building has a strong bond with Zahner & Co., a metal fabrication firm based in Kansas City that has worked with such star international architects as Frank Gehry.
“When you look up at the front of this building the facade is constructed of hammered copper from 1906,” Stone said.
“In fact, the artisan who did the hammered copper was a Mr. Zahner, who was the forerunner to what’s now an internationally recognized metallurgy company Zahner & Co. based in Kansas City.
“We’re pleased to say Zahner will be doing the restoration of the front.”
The Council presentation was unusual in that the financials of the proposed project have not been completed. Stone asked for the early hearing because members of the development team would not be available otherwise for several months.
The Neighborhood, Planning and Development committee took no action.
The hotel development was first proposed in late 2021 by a St. Louis developer. It also was described as being the next boutique hotel to be operated by the team behind the Kindler.
The Mason is named after Anna Mason, who developed the building as a four-story office project in 1905. Another two stories were added in 1921. It’s also known as the Borel Building.
The building at 1110 Grand was designed by prominent Wilder & Wight architecture firm, according to its National Register of Historic Places application.
Stone said proposed hotel lounge would be designed by Brian Boitano, an Olympic gold medal winning figure skater. Boitano also designed the lounge at the Kindler.
Boitano told Council members he would be guiding all of the lounge’s features including the cocktails, food and staff training. The food would be locally sourced. The backers said the Kindler lounge has proven to be popular with both hotel guests and locals in Lincoln.
Although the hotel developers did not suggest a potential incentive package, information furnished by the Kansas City Economic Development Corp. stated a 15-year property tax abatement was being contemplated, 10 years at 100 percent and five years at 50 percent.
The EDC information indicated about $3.8 million was expected to come from federal and state historic tax credits and $2.3 million in cash equity from the developer. A $24.5 million revenue bond is being sought for the development.
No date was established for when the developers plan to return to the city for a formal hearing.
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