By Kevin Collison
A vacant downtown building at 10th and Broadway that was around before Custer’s Last Stand has experienced a partial roof collapse, prompting fears the historic structure will wind up being razed.
“This is a pretty classic demolition by neglect story,” said Josh Boehm, president of the Downtown Neighborhood Association.
“The property owner wants too much money for it.”
The two-story building at 935 Broadway once housed the Seiden’s Furs company, but has been empty for at least a decade. It began its life around 1874 as the Brackett Brothers Drugstore, making it one of downtown’s older structures.
The city declared it a dangerous building on Monday.
Maggie Green, a city spokeswoman, said the building remains relatively intact despite the roof damage.
“To say the old Seiden’s Furs building partially collapsed might be a little too extreme,” Green said in an email. “Actually, a corner of the roof collapsed into itself. (ie: went straight down into the building).
“The building has been vacant for some time and has suffered fairly significant water damage through the years, but is not in any immediate danger of collapse.
“Dangerous Buildings arrived on site around 10 a.m. (Monday) and made contact with the owner- who indicated he was going to contact his insurance company…Right now, it’s a private matter.”
The Seiden’s Furs building is part of the National Register of Historic Places Garment District, but does not have local landmark status to protect it from demolition.
The building also has not been included on a watch list of endangered properties published by Historic Kansas City and that organization has not been contacted since it was designated as dangerous earlier this week.
The building is listed for sale, with reports the owner is seeking about $1.3 million for the property. A person answering the phone number listed on the For Sale sign declined to comment.
Boehm said the condition of the Seiden’s building reminded him of the historic Cosby Hotel at Ninth and Baltimore, an 1881 structure that had begun crumbling before developers restored it as offices and restaurants.
“The Seiden’s building has had a number of years of this status, but the city doesn’t seem to have the tools to make owners move,” he said.
“It would great for the city to act to save it, it’s part of the historic fabric and a historic district.”
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.