Cityscape Residential’s partners weren’t new to building at Lee’s Summit, but it was something old that gave the company a long-awaited downtown project.
The streetscape restoration and adaptive use of the 1922 Methodist Church at 114 SE Douglas St. was honored this year by the City of Lee’s Summit Historic Preservation Commission with the 2022 Graves/Hale Historic Preservation Award. The award, created to honor the work of Lee’s Summit historians Frank Graves and Don Hale, recognizes those who “have demonstrated a commitment to interpreting, conserving and promoting the preservation and adaptive reuse of buildings, neighborhoods, structures and cultural landscapes of Lee’s Summit. ”
Cityscape partners have over two decades of history at Lee’s Summit.
“One of our partners has parents and a sister here,” said Ryan Adams, Vice President of Cityscape Residential for Kansas City. “We were finishing our third community at Lee’s Summit and had been trying for six to eight years to find something downtown.
“When church property became available, we jumped on it.”
The church property evolved into Elevate 114, a community of 273 apartments.
Elevate 114 reused the original century-old Methodist Church building for some of its common areas.
“The original church building had not been occupied or heated for some time, so the finishes and structure were fine, but the bones were beautiful,” Adams said.
“The original stained glass and doors were mostly intact, and the interior dome structure was in good enough condition to repair. The original chandelier was there physically, although it took a lot of work to work as expected again.
Among the challenges of the project were the stained glass windows.
“The stained glass windows were the focus and countless hours were spent restoring and replacing some of the translucent white interior glass with clear glass so we could bring light into the building,” Adams said.
“We also had to rebuild the ground floor as it was tilted for the congregation, and rebuild the second floor gallery to work for modern fire codes. Accomplishing all of this without people realizing that a big change had been made was our constant goal.
Adams said the company had the original plans for the building.
“So we thought we knew how the building was going to be framed,” he said. “Let’s just say they took the plans as a suggestion, so we spent a lot of time with structural engineers reworking our plans to reflect current codes and the structure we found.”
Surprises were encountered in the process.
“The upper floor ceiling is surrounded by plaster finials with what appears to be a small ball in the middle. When we first looked inside the property my partner thought the balls were also painted plaster, but turned out to be painted miniature bulbs from the 1920s.
“So we immediately pivoted and figured out how to rewire all those lights that wrap around the bottom of the dome and recast the damaged decorative floral surrounds. This is the first time the floral crown of lights has been re-lit in many years. We used reflector bulbs to highlight the plaster, and it’s beautiful.