Many Kansas Citians are familiar with the iconic McQueeny Lock building in the West Crossroads. Visible from northbound commuters on I-35, the structure is recognizable by its two unique sculptures, representing Biology and Chemistry, gracing the front entry.
It was many years later, when the property became available on the market, that three local contracting businesses saw an opportunity. In early 2017 Centric, Superior Bowen and Inspired Homes formed a partnership to become owner/tenants of the historic building with plans for a $6.5 million renovation, relocation of 300 jobs and adding an additional 140 over 10 years.
Originally built in 1919 and designated on the National Register of Historic Places, the building was first home to a local laboratory that produced veterinary drugs, Jensen-Salsbery Laboratories. After Jensen-Salsbery got swallowed up in the pharmacological industry consolidation, plumbing and HVAC supplier McQueeny Lock took up residence at 520 West Pennway.
Due to the extensive renovations required of the 45,000-square-foot historic structure, the project qualified for tax abatement under the EDCKC’s Enhanced Enterprise Zones (EEZ) guidelines.
Project developer Wes Grammer, president of Sky Real Estate, said he loved the presence of the building and saw a great opportunity in bringing it back to life. The restoration included incorporating previous features, such as the heavy metal doors and central staircase, and taking care of deferred maintenance items such as restoring the parapets and fixing the ceilings. Grammer said the project would have been too much to take on if it weren’t for the EEZ abatement and state and federal historic tax credits. Grammer added that the team hopes this project will be a catalyst to growing the West Crossroads.
The new and improved structure features modern styling like concrete floors, whitewashed brick walls, open-concept collaboration space and a rooftop deck, all intended to attract millennial workers.
The three tenants – Centric on the first floor and Superior Bowen and Inspired Homes on the second and third – are getting settled and will soon celebrate a grand opening.
We are glad this Kansas City treasure has come back to life better than ever and ready to attract jobs to the West Crossroads area.