Monday, April 25, 2011

A Saint Francis Revival

Two Northeast friends of mine, Jason and Mike, have undertaken the restoration of the St. Francis apartment building at Anderson Avenue and Gladstone Boulevard. It sits prominently next to the Richardson-Graham Bridge and the Concourse.
The stone foundation blends seamlessly into the base of the bridge. The bridge was built in 1897 and the St. Francis in 1912.
Jason and Mike in front of their new acquisition. While they will hire much of the specialty work, plumbing and electrical, heating and a/c.. they intend to live here on the top floor and do much of the work themselves.
Coming in the front entrance the marble is mostly intact on the walls, the floor tile is in excellent shape. Below, looking back toward the front door.

We first went up the staircase, illuminated by a skylight, to the top floor which will be reduced from multiple apartments to one... where they guys will live. Below their view of the Concourse from the front balcony.

All the apartments have gas fireplaces and all the tile is intact...
Spacious with large windows the rooms are very nicely laid out. Below they open the windows looking north over the tennis courts to the Colonnade.
The owners of the building in the early days either owned outright or controlled the tennis courts that are still there today. There was a tennis pro shop in the basement that sold tickets to play on the courts as well as rackets and other equipment. Long-time local residents remember the arrangement.

The building, despite its appearance in these shots, is in remarkable condition with solid oak floors laid on concrete. All the balconies are concrete as well. There is no creaking of or give in the floors anywhere in the building.
Claw-foot bathtubs, original to the building, will be reinstalled.
Above, the view from the back porch of the top floor... note the KC skyline over Jason's shoulder....
Since they are merging all the units on their floor into one, they will have four balconies, two front and two back. This view is south to the second rear balcony.

The hexagonal tile in the bathrooms is in great shape with no breakage...
Stairways are also solid with wooden railings and metal supports intact.
The double doors on the right in the above picture will lead out to the new fire escape. The renovations will include access to the roof for an even higher view.

Above and below the "other" rear balcony and the view back north to the other.

View above from the 4th floor front balcony and, below, the skylight. The sound absorbing tiles will vanish quickly.

All of the archways in the apartments are different.
Hallway above and closet below.

Above, the only remaining radiator.... the building was originally steam heat.
Above, the only thing "stolen" from the property was a section of oak flooring in this unit... below... some fine art deco linoleum possibly from the 30s... that will have to be replaced.

Above, original tile, original finish. Below, pencil inscription over the above fireplace saying, "John need help he isn't right in the head."

Heading down to the first basement.
Above, original light fixture.... below, there were apartments on the Anderson Ave. side ground level.

Above, heading down the "Saw" stairs into the black depths..... picture is misleading all we had was a flashlight.

There is a garage on the Anderson Ave. side which the guys will use. They hope to be able to move into their "penthouse" in a year. Good luck.... and thanks for helping to bring back the great buildings of the Northeast!!!!


  1. nice. they should make a documentary about this to help finance the repairs. maybe youtube video series.

  2. Mike plans to do just that.... and has been already taking pictures. They have applied for historic renovation tax credits from the state so pictorial documentation is a must.

  3. It's so nice to see these fixed, and a great location.

  4. Beautiful building...great potential. I admire your ambition to rehab this property. I am pretty handy...let me know if you all need some help!

  5. So cool! Drove by this building all the time and always wondered what it looked like inside.

  6. This is a great building.

    Glad to see it will have a new life.

    Thanks, guys.

  7. I just want to cry I'm so proud of Mike and Jason, and I don't even know them! Any moral support you need, please come knocking on our door on Garfield Ave, Damian & Marcellus. We've looked at the building for years wishing we could do something with it. We're so thrilled to have you in the neighborhood! Welcome guys!

  8. This is great to hear! Every time we've walked past this building we've thought it was a shame that it hadn't been rehabbed.

  9. I'm amazed it is as intact as it is what with the craziness over metals these days. Happy renovating and I will look forward to progress reports.

  10. What a FANTASTIC project. This will be such an adventure. I hope to follow their progress.

  11. Way to go! it looks really neat. Can't wait to watch fireworks from the roof.

  12. We have had the greatest stroke of luck. A real estate agent here in Northeast saw this post on your blog, and contacted our neighbor. He had a copy of a set of blueprints for 300 Gladstone from 1912! We now have all the original drawings, elevations, and layout for the building. This is one of the greatest finds we could ask for. Thank you for doing a story on us. Now we are going to try to find an historic photo! The drawings show 2 bedroom "chambers" with a maids quarters! -In an apartment! The building was being built for a Mrs. E.B. Fuller by the firm of Tarket and Fuller. There were beamed ceilings in every dining room, and we have a drawing of what the original entry marquee looked like. We are now redesigning the front entry because of the original plans. Can't wait to show you the progress!

  13. In our defense, we were stuck in traffic and had our neighbor go tell "anonymous" that we were on our way. We arrived 20 minutes late. Next time leave a phone number. I'd rather have stars in my eyes than bitterness in my heart. Don't knock us or our neighbors. The alternative was demolition. I've done several restoration projects in my hometown, and they have all been successful. Who are you to make such broad assumptions?! You don't even know who we are.

  14. I deleted anonymous... that one got by me....