This article originally appeared in the Kansas City Business Journal on July 20, 2016. Written by Rob Roberts.

 Original Article Link.

 

Worcester Investments, a family-owned company based in Riverside, will seek a property tax abatement for its planned $43 million conversion of the nine-story Executive Plaza Office Building — aka "the Flashcube Building."

The downtown building at 720 Main St. was placed under contract earlier this year by another firm, Stencil Group of Sioux Falls, S.D. But the building is now under contract with Worcester Investments, said David McCoubrie, executive director of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority.

McCoubrie said Worcester Investments seeks a PIEA abatement for its planned 181-unit apartment conversion, which will require creation of a new 7th & Main PIEA Area. Worcester Investments representatives are scheduled to appear during the PIEA's monthly meeting Thursday to seek approval for a general development plan and funding agreement — both necessary steps for creating the new area and considering a later abatement request.

Nicknamed the Flashcube Building because of its shape and reflective exterior, the 207,000-square-foot structure has sat vacant on the north side of the Downtown Loop since 2006, when its owner, Commerce Bank, moved an operations center out of it.

According to its website, Worcester Investments partners with investors to acquire apartment communities at prices below the properties' intrinsic value by targeting multifamily real estate suffering from a problem the company thinks it can solve.

Bob Mayer, a principal with MR Capital Advisors who is assisting with incentives for the project, said Worcester Investments plans affordable market-rate, or workforce, apartments.

Although the building was built in in the early 1970s, he said, Rosin Preservation LLC is pursuing a listing on the National Register of Historic Places, which would make the project eligible for state and national historic tax credits. Mayer said the building was designed by the three founders of the architectural firm HOK and has historical significance because its glass membrane construction was a prototype later used in construction of the World Trade Center.