Kansas City, Mo. – The former Fidelity National Bank and Trust Building, which had stood vacant downtown for more than a decade, has been rehabbed as an upscale mixed-use development and renamed 909 Walnut.
The conversion of the twin-spired, Art Deco building drew praise from Mayor Kay Barnes. “909 Walnut is one of our most treasured landmarks, and its rebirth represents a milestone redevelopment for our city,” she said.
The 35-story skyscraper was acquired in 2000 and redeveloped by Simbol Commercial into 159 one- and two-bedroom luxury apartments, two penthouses, a rooftop garden, a 323-car parking garage, executive office suites (in the adjacent 929 Walnut building), and 70,000 square feet of commercial space. Built in 1931, it is the tallest residential tower in the state.
The apartments have 14 different floor plans and are located on floors five to 30. They range in size from 650 square feet to 2,000 square feet, and rents range from $750 to $2,500. The units opened in September 2005, and they were half leased at press time, according to Glenn Solomon, president of Simbol.
This project is one of the first mixed-use developments Solomon has done. “The old bank lobby was not conducive to residential, so we did office space in that area,” he said. “It also works well with parking. Office people can use it in the day, and residents can use it at night so we get double the revenue.”
Perfect Commerce, a technology firm, has already leased more than half of the commercial space in the lobby for its headquarters. Some of the lobby was also transformed into a fitness center.
909 Walnut is on the National Register of Historic Places, and it features marble walls, terrazzo floors and ornate plaster ceilings. Restoration included removing the drop ceiling on the third floor to reveal the original Art Deco plaster ceiling and preserving the bank vaults. The property was eligible for federal and state historic rehabilitation tax credits, which helped fund a large portion of the $64 million redevelopment.
Financing included a $30 million senior loan from Scotiabank; $18 million in historic rehab tax credit equity from Kimberly Clark, a Fortune 500 company; $8 million in Kansas City-backed bonds; and $8 million in equity from Housing Horizons and 909 Walnut Management, LLC.
Housing Horizons is a subsidiary of Kimberly Clark.