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The New England Wins Project of the Year

The New England Building was built in 1886-87 by the New England Mutual Life Insurance Company of Boston, Massachusetts. Located at the northeast corner of 9th and Wyandotte Streets in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, the historic landmark “is an unusual example of late nineteenth century Renaissance Revival commercial architecture.” Among its distinguishing features are its south and west exterior walls, which were constructed of rosecolored, rock-faced, Springfield sandstone from Massachusetts; round-arched entrances on the west and south; and a two-story oriel window at the southwest corner of the building. Except for some of the interior finishes, the seven-story, 54,680 square foot building had stood substantially unchanged as an office building until the current renovation. Contemporary office design had made the building functionally obsolete, leading to the decision to convert it to 32 upscale apartment units along with a host of amenity spaces including the historically-preserved foyer and lobby, the grand staircase, and a fitness room (which is located within the building’s original main bank vault). Rau Construction Company, the general contractor, maintained the integrity of the building while meeting rigid guidelines for historic renovation. The project scope included delicately cleaning and restoring many of the ornate architectural ornaments such as fine plaster moldings, ceilings, pilasters, capitals, marble flooring, and oak trim. Finding skilled craftspersons who could replicate the techniques of construction from over a century ago was critical. Plaster artists were hired to restore the ornate interior common areas. This restoration was required in order to retain federal and state historic tax credits, which were part of the financing for the project. Most of the building’s original wood windows, including the large arched windows, were restored and modified to accept insulated double-pane glass lites. Fifteen vaults were reused as closets and full rooms, and 42 coal burning fireplaces were restored (although in a nonfunctioning capacity). Responsibly renovating this historic gem required many safety measures and precautions. The City required that the sidewalk remain open for pedestrians. Rau assembled an overhead walkway to ensure their safety. Rau also used extensive barriers to limit jobsite access to authorized personnel. A member of the Build Safe Partnership Program (a formal cooperative partnership with OSHA and The Builders’ Association), Rau completed the project with no major incidents, accidents or injuries, even though there were at times over fifty workers onsite. The project team was presented with the challenge of replacing the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems and adding fire sprinklers, modernizing the elevator, and incorporating additional fireproofing and insulation. Rau accomplished this in seamless fashion, working with a team of contractors preselected for their experience as successful design-build partners with Rau on a number of other historic renovations. Everyone on the team stepped up with solutions to various challenges in a true collaborative effort. As a result, the project was completed on budget and two months ahead of schedule. It was approved for occupancy on September 1, 2017 – an important date since the historic tax credit program allows for the tax credits to be claimed in the year in which the historic renovation is placed in service. The New England Building has been awarded state and federal tax credits (Part III completion) certifying that the work complied with Missouri and the U.S. Department of the Interior historic standards. The project exceeded Minority Business Enterprise and Women’s Business Enterprise contracting and workforce goals. It is 100 percent occupied. It has also been nominated for several local and regional awards for design and construction. John Bennett, Owner, New England Lofts, LLC, said, “The building was constructed using 19th century building technology, and Rau’s ingenuity and competence in dealing with the challenges presented by such an old building were invaluable.” He concluded, “When working with Rau you can expect excellence every step of the way.” Paul Stark, AIA, NCARB, Principal, Stark Wilson Duncan Architects, Inc., the Architect of Record, stated, “Dan Meyer, Pete Jenks and Andy Meyer, along with so many others with Rau Construction Company, contributed in countless ways to the overall success of the New England Lofts project. Unforeseen difficulties included the delamination of existing plaster ceilings throughout the building; an archaic, hidden structural floor system rarely used that required extensive coordination between the MEP subcontractors, structural engineer and architect for systems routing; and a very secure main bank vault ceiling (consisting of multiple layers of concrete, clay tile, banded steel mesh and 6″ of poured cast iron) through which they – with tireless effort – created the necessary openings. They responded to these various hurdles in an extraordinary fashion, providing solutions and insight in a timely manner. Not only was Rau incredibly responsive, but their goal was always focused on improving the project in a cost-effective manner.”

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Butler Brothers Loft – Coming Soon!

Coming soon …Apartment #208 at Butler Brothers Lofts.   Rent – $1275/month; Move in June 18′ One Bedroom / One Bathroom (754 SF) Butler Brothers Lofts is a unique four-story building located in the heart of Kansas City’s Historic Garment District. Built in 1909 and designated on the National Registry of Historic Places, this building originally served as a dry goods storage warehouse for The Butler Brothers Company. Butler Brothers was recently renovated into 30 loft-style apartments. These lofts have soaring wood beams, colorful brick walls, and spectacular urban views. The amenity package includes a fitness facility with a full range of cardio and strength training machines and a private resident storage area. Due to its convenient Downtown location, Butler Brothers has numerous options for bars, restaurants, cafes and other attractions and destinations including the Garment District Museum and the Kansas City Public Library within short walking distances. The popular River Market area is available just to the northeast for a few blocks. There, you will find fresh produce, vibrant shops featuring odds and ends and numerous restaurants of different cultural fares as just some of the ingredients in this vibrant district. The Lofts are located two blocks from Broadway Boulevard, a major arterial that goes south to Midtown and the Plaza District. Bus and streetcar stations are located just to the east and designated bicycle routes are in close proximity. Butler Brothers also has a B-Cycle station in the urban park directly north of the building and bikes can be rented to cruise around Downtown anytime you wish! Enjoy loft living in the Garment District at Butler Brothers Lofts. Unit Features –
  • Modern kitchen with stainless steel appliances
  • Beautifully restored original wood beams and brick
  • Large Windows
  • Distinctive bathroom finishes
  • Concrete flooring
  • Google Fiber
  • Pet friendly
Click here to learn more about Butler Brothers Lofts:

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Downtown KC Jazz!

Jazz it up in Downtown KC!

Lonnie McFadden stood smiling beside the piano inspecting his trumpet before beginning his regular gig at The Phoenix where he entertains the Friday night crowd by playing his horn, tap dancing on the bar or singing a variety of songs. “What you have here is a music venue,” McFadden said before beginning his regular gig at the downtown restaurant and bar that also serves a variety of live music. “But you definitely are going to hear some jazz tonight right out of the box.” In fact, every night of the week, 365 days a year, Kansas City jazz can be heard playing somewhere downtown. When the the Black Dolphin opened last year, became just one of 18 downtown venues offering the distinctive riff-based music along with signature cocktails. The Phoenix charms the corner of Eighth and Central in the Garment District. (Photo by Kim Mueller) Local musicians routinely rotate among these clubs, often changing their outfits and bands to fit the distinct style of each club and booking. Many of these venues offer a variety of live music, but only a few dedicate their stages just to jazz. The Blue Room located in the historic jazz district at the corner of 18th and Vine streets, the Blue Room jazz club is attached to an outside corner of the American Jazz Museum at 1616 E. 18th Street. By day, the Blue Room is a working exhibit where visitors enter through the club’s interior backdoor. By night, the club is filled with jazz lovers. The atmosphere is friendly and energetic. And the music is free except after 8:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays when patrons pay a $10 cover charge. “It’s a listening room,” said Andre Tyler, manager at the Blue Room where patrons can buy a drink but not any food. “Cocktails and live jazz is our focus. There is not a distraction because of food. And the musicians really like that.” The Blue Room is part of the American Jazz Museum exhibition space by day, at night it’s a jazz venue. Patrons who forgot to eat before leaving home can buy an $8 Louisiana alligator sausage from Jimmy McCauley’s street stand located at the same corner before going inside to listen to more jazz. Although the Green Lady and Black Dolphin lounges are neighbors with separate addresses, the properties owned by John Scott actually operate as a single jazz venue, including the Orion Room located in the Green Lady basement. The staff uniform: black cocktail dresses or black suits with black shirts and bright red ties. Food is limited to two types of snacks plates. And drink tabs started in one location follow patrons when they move to the other two clubs. “I lead with the jazz and the ambiance,” Scott said. “If it’s between cooks and jazz, I’ll go with the music.” The Green Lady at 1809 Grand Blvd. offers traditional live jazz acts typically booked six months in advance. The red walls and mid-century lights give a retro feel to the club where patrons sit at the bar, talk at small tables, or cuddle in curved lounges. The Green Lady, part of swinging jazz trio of clubs on Grand Boulevard. (Photo by Kim Mueller) The Orion is a smaller, more intimate space with chandeliers hung from the dimly lit ceilings, speakers lined at the top of the walls, and tables scattered throughout the narrow space. The service bar is for staff only. No standing or waiting allowed. Waiters and waitresses bring drinks to the tables. Finally, the Black Dolphin at 1813 Grand Blvd. boasts a more contemporary feel with its exposed brick and light bulbs. While patrons at the other two clubs try to engage in conversation over the band music, patrons who come to the Black Dolphin don’t talk. They only listen. “I don’t think we intended it to be a listening room, it just evolved that way,” explained bartender Zack Alvey. “We have more fusion jazz and out of town groups here.” The Majestic offers three distinct venues in a 107 year-old building with a colorful history. (Photo by Kim Mueller) Originally as a saloon and brothel in 1911, the building at 931 Broadway Blvd. is now home to The Majestic Restaurant and its three venues: the private Pendergast Club cigar bar upstairs; The Majestic Restaurant on the main floor; and the Kansas City Jazz Club downstairs. The Majestic features jazz music seven days a week, with solo piano music on the main floor when the jazz club is closed on Sunday and Mondays. Although the club does not have a cover charge, patrons must purchase an entrée ($24- $88) at dinner tables or a suggested two drink minimum ($20) at the bar or cocktail tables. “We can’t just have people taking up a table and listening to music,” said The Majestic Assistant Manager Cap Narine. “At the end of the day, we are a restaurant not just a jazz club, and we have to make money.” Musicans jump from club to club, the Lonnie McFadden Quartet at Black Dophin. (Photo by Kim Mueller)
Kansas City Jazz Swings Across Downtown

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