By Kevin Collison
Move over Muse of Missouri, the corner of Ninth and Main finally has another attraction pleasing to the eye with the opening of the new McCownGordon headquarters, a $10.5 million do over of a bland 1970s office building.
The approximately 300 McCownGordon employees completed their move into their new digs last month and CEO Ramin Cherafat is pleased with the work done by Helix Architecture + Design reinventing the building’s exterior.
“We originally planned to dress up the facade and keep the original envelope,” he said.
“The more we got into it, being on Main Street and the streetcar line, we wanted to activate the building more to make it a presence on Main Street.
“We expanded the building and dressed up the facade with a contemporary look. Now it stands out, but not in a flashy way. We wanted a place our associates were proud to call home.”
McCownGordon acquired the three-story building at 850 Main St. formerly occupied by Catholic Charities early last year. Its previous occupant was the Aquila energy firm and the building was completed in 1977.
McCownGordon had outgrown its previous offices at 422 Admiral Blvd. and was looking for a new home not only to accommodate its growing workforce, but to celebrate its 20th anniversary.
The firm has offices in Manhattan, KS and Wichita as well as Kansas City. It has a total workforce of about 400 people.
Cherafat said the new headquarters location along the streetcar line clinched the deal.
“When this building became available and we saw the streetcar, it was kind of a no-brainer,” he said. “How can we not be on Main Street with the streetcar running by?”
The existing building was 45,000 square feet when McCownGordon bought it. The renovation added another 8,000 square feet of space.
“It’s an exciting time here,” Charafat said. “The stars started aligning with out 20-year anniversary and we wanted to be in the central core.
Even though we only moved four blocks, this has changed the accessibility and walkability of our office.”
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