The city of Kansas City rejects the request to demolish the historic mansion

Mackenzie Koch and Dave DeMarco

10 hours ago

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A recent attempt to demolish a 7,300-square-foot historic home in Kansas City has failed.

The Kansas City Historic Preservation Commission denied the homeowners’ request Friday morning, but the fight is far from over.

The owners of the George P. Richards mansion at 45th and Warwick, west of the Nelson-Atkins Museum, said they want to tear it down and sell the land.

Steve Vawter said he is under contract with a developer who wants to build apartments on the 9-acre property after the house is demolished. But a recent designation making the house historic has thrown a wrench into things.

In letters sent to city commissions, Futter and his brother said the cost of renovating the house was more than $1 million — the minimum.

Jackson County records show the property’s value is slightly less than that.

“The basement door was broken down. There’s more down this road,” Futter said, noting that what he said had happened after repeated work by thieves, vagrants and vandals.

He no longer lives in the house, and there are no other single-family homes in the immediate surrounding neighborhood.

But the Southmoreland Neighborhood Association said the house is still part of the neighborhood, and it is resisting the Vaughters’ plans to demolish the house.

“We feel strongly that there should be more attention before things are torn down willy-nilly,” said Laura Burkhalter, president of the Southmoreland Neighborhood Association.

She successfully petitioned to have the house added to the Kansas City Register of Historic Places.

“They submitted a historic nomination a day before we hoped to get our demolition permit,” Futter said.

The owners of the nearby Truitt boutique hotel have offered to buy the house for $1.25 million and restore it for hotel guests to stay in, but Vawter called it a low-key offer.

Futter said he was offered a much larger sum just for the land. He added that repairing it “is not economically feasible,” as restoration estimates reach $1.9 million.

But even with their application denied on Friday, the Vaughter brothers are not giving up yet.

A city spokesman said the owners will hold a hearing next month to file an economic hardship application for demolition.

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