Carrie Rengers

New owners to convert Market Centre to apartments (+video)

Downtown’s Market Centre has sold, and its new owners are going to take a new tack with the building to attract occupants.

“They’re going to convert it to apartments,” says Tony Utter of Utter Commercial Real Estate, who handled the deal.

Kansas natives Bob and Judy Abbey, who live in San Antonio, and their Rainbow Trout Farms sold the building to KCHHLP, a Virginia limited partnership.

The general partner in KCHHLP is Virginia-based Red Leaf Development, which redevelops office buildings, among other things.

The Abbeys purchased the Market Centre, which is at the southwest corner of First and Market, in 2009 with plans to dramatically increase its occupancy.

The building, which was built as the Lassen Hotel in 1919, has had less than 50 percent occupancy in recent years, though.

“I think primarily because it was a Class B office building,” Utter says. “There’s a surplus of Class B office space downtown and not enough demand.”

As a one-time hotel, Utter says, the Market Centre’s conversion to apartments makes sense.

“It’s ideally suited to conversion to apartments,” he says.

Construction won’t start for about six months. It likely will take about a year after that.

“At this point, it looks like there will be 110 apartment units there,” Utter says.

“It’s a beautiful building.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.

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