Historical Building Showcase: The Cosby Building

In Historic Buildings, News by EDCKC Staff

The Cosby building (107 W. 9th St., KCMO) had only 30 days left to live before Sunflower Development Group saved it from the wrecking ball back in 2011. After a successful “Save the Cosby Hotel” Facebook campaign, support from the Downtown Council of Kansas City and preservationists from the Historical Society of Kansas City, the building owner was granted enough time to find a new buyer.

Architect Lon Booher and developer Jason Sword, of the Sunflower Development Group, purchased the building in July of 2011. Since the building has undergone significant renovations the Regus Office Space, The Milwaukee Delicatessen Co. and Sasha’s Baking Co. now call the 130 year old building home.

A bit of history

– The Cosby building was originally known as the Wood’s building and was built in 1881. Wood’s served as a hospital for several prominent Kansas City doctors, even boasting the city’s first female physician.

– Joseph Cosby, for which the building is currently named after, purchased the property at the turn of the century and turned the space into the 60-room hotel in 1899.

– The Cosby building would also be the first place Anheuser Busch delivered beer after prohibition ended in 1933.

– By 1964, the upper floors of the building were closed off to the public.

– Lane Blueprint was the last company to occupy the building before the restoration process began. They left in 1995.

Renovation highlights

– Redevelopers secured a 10-year property tax abatement of $828, $523 in state and federal historic tax credits and a $1.9 million bank loan to begin reconstruction on the building.

– The first floor contains original transom windows, tile and reclaimed wood from the building structure.  The second and third floors contain original plaster work, staircases, the original hotel sky light and exposed cast iron columns, which serve as the skeleton of the building.

– The renovations totaled around $2.8 million.

– The Cosby building won an EDC Cornerstone Award for Commercial Retail in 2014.

With such a diverse and interesting history, it’s comforting to know that despite being so close to demolition, the Cosby building remains a part of the Kansas City skyline.

View complete Hotel Cosby project here

Sources: The Pitch , Regus, Sunflower Development Group

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This blog is part of a new series aimed at highlighting historical buildings that help define our Kansas City skyline. If you know of a Kansas City building that has a historical story to tell, please email Kaitlin Brennan  for consideration.