Developer Plans to Convert Former Auto Row Building on McGee Into Offices

This building at 1824-32 McGee was completed in 1919 to house auto dealerships.

By Kevin Collison

A developer is planning to convert one of the East Crossroads buildings along McGee Street that comprise the historic auto row district into an office building.

Andrew Brain of Brain Group development plans invest up to $12 million to covert the 100 year-old building at 1824-32 McGee into office space.

“We have a couple of tenants we’re talking to,” he said. “The design will be a big nod to auto row history.”

The buildings lining McGee between 17th and 20th streets were an early hub of auto dealerships in downtown Kansas City. The area is known as the McGee Street Automotive Historic District.

The heyday of the district begin in 1912 and ran through much of the mid-20th Century. It had died out by the 1960s.

The building at 1824 McGee opened in 1919 as the Franklin-Williams Motor Co. Its neighbor at 1832 McGee also opened in 1919 as the Newell Motor Car Co. The corner building at 19th and McGee also is part of the 1824-32 group and will be incorporated into the project.

The last use of the vacant building was a T-shirt manufacturing shop.

Brain was making a preliminary presentation to the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority.

“It’s a former auto dealership that we want to turn into a productive office building,” he told the board. “We’re trying to bring back vibrant jobs.”

Besides seeking a property tax abatement to help finance the plan, he also intends to use historic tax credits to renovate the 35,000 square-foot property.

If successful in arranging financing, work would begin this summer with completion in March 2019. J.E. Dunn Construction is the contractor.

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