How to Preserve Today’s Landmarks, while Building Tomorrow’s
Kansas City has been undergoing an urban revitalization where once boarded up and abandoned older buildings are seen as sound investment opportunities for reconstruction. Millions of dollars are being invested to revitalize these buildings into new hot spots for residential housing, entertainment, shopping and dining.
Public incentives such as TIF and state and federal historic tax credits, along with the vision and leadership of the mayor’s office over the past 10 years, have attracted investment dollars from the private sector to rehab older structures and develop new buildings that will become tomorrow’s landmarks.
If you are a building owner or developer considering this area, there are several things to consider and ask before buying or building a structure in the urban core.
Taking care of what’s in place
For building owners, it is a common trend to maximize investment dollars on the interior/tenant finishes, while deferring maintenance issues on the exterior facades. The fact is that in order to cut costs and stay within the budget, developers often focus more on the interior of the building rather than the exterior. Cutting costs by deferring planned exterior work might be financially smart in the short term, but if left unattended could be part of a major investment later.
Why it matters?
Kansas City is one of three cities, alongside Denver and St. Louis, which have the most severe freeze/thaw cycles in the entire United States. Our building exteriors take a beating. This temperature mood swing of cold, warm, hot and then cold again is a leading cause of deterioration. Deferred or poorly maintained facades are prime candidates for costly repairs. Most major repairs of today were minor maintenance issues last year. The longer a poorly maintained façade is unaddressed, the more it will cost to repair.
The risk and reward of not maintaining
First, maintaining the fabric of a building is a joint private/public responsibility. The risk of having a poorly maintained neighborhood is great as it will lead to a decline in property values. Conversely, the reward of a well-maintained building and neighborhood can be greater because it can increase revenues (sales tax and property taxes) to the city and county. The key to our city’s urban revitalization is the law of attraction. The urban core is home to thousands of new homeowners, jobs, businesses and entertainment adding a new dynamic level of energy and enthusiasm that is attractive to even the most casual observer.
Need to develop a preventive maintenance
A preventive maintenance plan is a good investment. Hire a professional that specializes in exterior restoration/preventative maintenance to assess older buildings then create a five-year rolling budget where the building is reviewed and maintained year after year. Consistent maintenance of our older buildings' exteriors and, by extension, of the urban core, will generate a solid return on investment for your property and our community.