By Kevin Collison
Progress on repurposing the historic Kansas City Star building to become the Grand Place mixed-use development was delayed because of Covid and the project is now expected to welcome its first office tenant late next spring.
“We had 14 months of no leasing activity,” said Vince Bryant of 3D Development, adding “we’re close to landing two big tenants which would make us 40 percent pre-leased.”
A year ago, 3D announced that Overland Park-based Tria Health would be its first tenant, occupying about 17,600 square feet in the historic former newspaper building at 18th and Grand. That move had been expected to occur this September.
But a glimpse inside the 225,000 square-foot structure indicates it has far to go before any tenant moves in. While it’s been stripped to its bare walls, there’s no sign that work has begun on building out a new interior.
Bryant said the exterior work has been completed including new windows and a new roof. Construction of an underground garage on the south side of the building facing 18th Street is expected to begin this September.
He said interior finishing work also is expected to begin in September with both projects anticipated to be finished in about 12 months.
As for the proposed food hall and market at Grand Place, Bryant said he has strong interest from a half-dozen vendors, but that progress depends on completing the garage.
It’s been three years since the Kansas City Council approved tax incentives to assist Bryant’s $95 million redevelopment plan. The landmark building at 1729 Grand was designed by Jarvis Hunt. It opened in 1911 with an addition built in 1924.
Bryant and his local ownership group purchased the former newspaper building in 2017 for $12 million from McClatchy, The Star’s owner.
The remaining Star employees are working in the glass Press Pavilion across McGee Street. Printing operations ceased in January however, and the newspaper is now produced in Des Moines. The entire building is expected to be vacated later this year.
The Press Pavilion was purchased is a lease-back arrangement with McClatchy in 2018 by Ambassador Hospitality, an entity controlled by Rosana Privatera Biondo of Mark One Electric.
It was listed for lease earlier this year after McClatchy announced its intention to vacate. About 10 years remain in the combined 25-year, 100 percent property tax abatement The Star was granted for the press facility which opened in 2006.
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