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What our surveyors learned about historic Kansas City buildings

Kansas City, Missouri was founded in the 1830s and since then, buildings have been designed in various architectural styles, demolished to develop new buildings or renovated over time. Design, development and renovation usually involve surveying work prior to making changes. Here’s what our surveyors learned about a couple of historic buildings in Kansas City.

One of the types of surveys completed for certain projects is an ALTA survey. Surveyors in our Kansas City office completed an ALTA survey of eight parcels on the historic block of 31st and Troost in Kansas City, Missouri. Developers desired to renovate some of the buildings on the block, located in the Troost Midtown area. The ALTA survey for this project included surveying the interior and exterior of the buildings as well as identifying the vertical relief, contouring and utilities for future design of the properties. Surveyors discovered some interesting findings about the buildings during their research.

Multiple buildings on the 31st and Troost block are historically significant and located on the National Register of Historic Places in Kansas City, Missouri. The Michelson building, which is currently under renovation, and the Shankman, which is in the process of being permitted, are on the register and were both built before 1930. Renovations or alterations to historic buildings must follow certain standards due to the historic past of the properties.

Phil Schnitz, PLS, Survey Services Supervisor in our Kansas City office, coordinated the surveying on this project. Phil researched the former Firestone Tire Company building at the south end of the block, and discovered that it was part of an Art Deco survey conducted by the Kansas City Landmarks Commission. The survey was conducted to inventory, protect and understand Art Deco-styled buildings in Kansas City. The Art Deco architectural style includes clean shapes, bold geometry and bright colors.

Overall, the process of conducting an ALTA survey for historical buildings is not much different between historically significant and newer buildings, but the research that is found during the survey may show a rich history for older buildings. Phil said that the 31st and Troost project was similar, except for the fact that it was a larger area to survey since the project included a city block.

We are happy to be working on the historic redevelopment of the 31st and Troost block in Kansas City, and we look forward to the outcome of this ongoing project!