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Elizabeth Fast leverages Historic Tax Credits to transform former KCK school into award-winning elderly housing

Constructed in 1898, The Lowell Elementary School in Kansas City, Kansas had once served as an anchor in the community. Unfortunately, it had fallen into disrepair and faced possible demolition when it was purchased by Kansas State Senator Chris Steineger and his wife, Shari Wilson, in 2006.

Steineger and Wilson formed Historic Lowell Lofts, L.L.C. to purchase the Lowell Elementary School property. The goal was to return the structure to service in the community by renovating it into 26 energy-efficient, loft-style apartments serving the elderly and adults with disabilities.

The project was financed in part by a $3 million Tax Credit Exchange Grant from the America Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The public-private partnership included the Sherwin-Williams Corporation, Historic Preservation Partners, the Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka, and Commerce Bank.  Matt Gearheart from Gastinger Walker Harden Architects was the architect for the project and Spencer Fane Britt & Browne Partner Elizabeth Fast represented the Historic Lowell Lofts in the transaction.

The project received regional recognition when the Kansas Board of Public Utilities recognized the Lowell School Apartments as Kansas City’s “First Energy Star Apartment Building” and the Kansas Preservation Alliance awarded the project the Medallion Award for Excellence.

“The innovative approach used on the Lowell School Apartments can easily serve as a model for historic preservation in the region,” said Elizabeth Fast. “The solution is a win-win for all of the participating parties and has significantly impacted the immediate neighborhood.”