William Rockhill Nelson founded the Kansas City Star, Kansas City’s longest running newspaper, in 1880. After more than a quarter-century of expanding and outgrowing previous locations, Nelson commissioned Chicago architect Jarvis Hunt to design a permanent home for the Star in 1909. The newspaper’s new home was a grand version of the Italian Villa style, with asymmetrical massing, a central tower that rises above the primary roofline, tapestry brick walls ornamented with brickwork and terra cotta, and an elaborate entrance with double-leaf bronze doors and a terra cotta and marble surround. Just thirteen years after the Kansas City Star Building opened in 1911, Nelson engaged Jarvis Hunt to design an addition that would blend seamlessly with the original building. The massive three-story building housed the paper’s administrative/editorial offices and production facilities until 2005 when printing and distribution operations moved to a new purpose-built facility. Office and editorial functions remained in the historic building until it was sold for redevelopment in 2018.
The new owner contracted Rosin Preservation to assist with the rehabilitation shortly thereafter. Rosin Preservation collaborated extensively with the owner and design team to ensure that the rehabilitation plan would meet the Secretary’s Standards for Rehabilitation and accurately reflect the building’s unique dual character, which was highly finished in the newsroom west half and highly utilitarian in the production east half. In addition to nominating the building to the National Register, Rosin prepared the state and federal historic tax credit applications, negotiating with state and federal reviewers to secure their approval for the multi-phase, mixed-use redevelopment. Proposed work includes removal of non-historic additions, installation of historically appropriate windows, replacement in-kind of the distinctive barrel tile roof, and restoration of historic finishes inside the building.
1729 Grand Boulevard Kansas City, MO