Hemingway Building awaits a new chapter in its ownership

Kansas City Business Journal
June 8, 2012

The Crossroads Arts District building where Ernest Hemingway sharpened his claws as a cub reporter is up for sale.

The bank-owned Hemingway Building at 103 W. 19th St. is on the market for $975,000. Originally built in 1915 as Kansas City Police Station No. 4, the 14,380-square-foot historic build- ing now sits empty after previous attempts to redevelop it into a nightclub fell short. The Bank of Belton holds title to the property. The two-story building, with its unusual linear architectural design, was where famed writer Hemingway worked for a short time with The Kansas City Star in 1917, covering crime, fires, hospitals and Union Station leaving for World War I.

His association with the building made it known colloquially as the Hemingway Build- ing.

“Having him office there ... and going on to obvious fame, people have always referred to it as the Hemingway Building,” said Pat Murfey, an Evergreen Real Estate Services broker listing the site.

The Hemingway Building is one of several to hit the sale market in the Crossroads. The area has been in high demand, particularly among start- ups and quirky smaller urban businesses.

Interest has been high, but many Crossroads structures have faced impediments, namely price and parking.

The Hemingway Building comes out to nearly $68 a square foot based on its asking price, though it could sell for less.

By contrast, a Brad Nicholson-owned building at 1712 Main St. with the large Boulevard Beer and Roasterie Coffee mural has a $1.5 million asking price for 43,000 square feet, or $35 a square foot. It has been on the market since February.

“I think the demand is high,” said Chuck Connealy, a broker for Waterford Property Co. LLC who frequently lists properties in the Crossroads, speaking generally about the area. “What I am experi- encing right now is almost everything is overpriced.”

Murfey lists the Hemingway as a commercial building. He said he has clients with nearby build- ings and thinks the site could get as many as eight additional parking spaces beyond the current three.

Pat Murfey, CCIMPat Murfey, CCIM specializes in Industrial Properties with Kansas City, Missouri-based real estate brokerage The Land Source. Pat can be reached at 913-951-8402 or Pat@TheLandSource.com.