Vacant since 2006, Sunflower purchased the 1520 Grand Boulevard building in October 2007. Known as the Weber Building, it was constructed between 1910 and 1911 from a design by architect William E. Brown, who also designed the 1909 St. Stephens Church and Rectory at 1029 Bennington, which is listed in the Kansas City Register of Historic Places, and the 1913 St. Stanislaus School at 1753 Ewing. Weber’s Sons Harness and Saddlery, operated by Fred Weber and his son Joseph, initially occupied the building. At a time when automobiles were beginning to overtake horses as the primary means of travel, Weber’s Sons sold harnesses and horse tack, as well as automobile accessories such as riding gloves, clothing, and other accessories. Weber’s Sons occupied the building through the 1920s. By 1940, the building housed Sherwin-Williams paints and wallpaper.
The acquisition and redevelopment of the 1520 Grand building serve as a hallmark for Sunflower Development Group and is a shining example of the type of development work our team is capable of discovering and completing.
The building and its neighbors represented important associations with the early 20th Century commercial development boom in Kansas City. Furthermore, many of the buildings, including the Weber Building, are examples of the rapid growth of transportation-specific businesses in the Midtown area during the first decades of the 20th Century.
The Weber Building retains sufficient integrity to convey its historic associations with the early 20th Century commercial development of Kansas City, Missouri. The building retains its original size and scale, its original brick facade and window openings, the storefront transom framing and openings, as well as the highly decorative cornice embellishment. On the interior, it retains the first-floor open retail space as well as the original pressed metal ceiling finish. The upper floors historically functioned as warehouse and industrial space and continue to convey their utilitarian character. As such, it was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing resource to the Walnut Street Warehouse and Commercial Historic District.
With the Weber Building being of fair quality and condition and upon purchase, Sunflower planned to renovate and convert the space into more than 17,000 square feet of leasable retail and office space on the first through third floors, with an additional 5,717 square feet of leasable space to be provided to either office or retail tenants with the possibility of multiple users. While the third floor would be owner-occupied, the other two floors would be “white boxed” until tenant leases were signed.
In addition to three floors or leasable space, an added amenity of a fenced in rooftop deck and bar/catering area was also planned.
The renovation and construction of the exterior building would be set to the historical standards. To this end, redevelopment of the property included replacing the brick façade on the front of the structure and the replacement of storefront transom framing and openings with new windows on the ground/first floor. New windows were also installed where there were openings in the rear of the building. The storefront restoration also included replacement of the highly decorative cornice embellishments.
As for the interior, the first-floor open retail space would remain intact, as well as the original pressed metal ceiling finish form the 1940’s. However, all walls that were not part of the brick structure of the building, mechanical systems, electrical systems and fixtures were replaced. The original boiler was removed and new plumbing, heating and cooling systems were installed. Staircases were installed both at the front and rear of the building. A new elevator that meets current building code was installed in the shaft of the original cargo elevator.
Currently the building is 100% occupied by a variety of tenants. The first-floor space operates as restaurant/nightclub. A full-service catering kitchen is located in the back of the space and operated by TASTE Catering. The second-floor is owner-occupied and houses the Sunflower Development Group, LLC offices. The third-floor and rooftop deck serve as the Terrace On Grand event space which host weddings and corporate events throughout the year and affords the best view of downtown Kansas City from the rooftop deck, pictured below.