By DAVID MARTIN
Face magazine publisher Camilo Estremadoiro hopes to breathe life into the stately but neglected Brookfield Building at 11th and Baltimore. Estremadario is launching an effort to restore retail at the ground level and convert the upper floors into condominiums and apartments.
Built in the 1930s, the Brookfield Building fell into disrepair after being bought by Richard Turner, the managing partner in the redevelopment of the old Vista Del Rio apartment building. Turner is an accountant and longtime business associate of Wayne Reeder, an aging real-estate sharp who moved to Kansas City after his release from a federal prison camp. Reeder went to the clink for his role in the sudden collapse of two insurance companies.
Turner purchased the Brookfield Building in 2004. Nine months later, city declared it a public nuisance. Its last tenants were driven out by a burst pipe in December 2005.
Why did Turner purchase the building then seem to ignore it? A lawsuit brought by a contractor against Turner and Reeder suggested that the Brookfield Building had been bought in order to avoid taxes on real-estate sale Turner made in California. (In court papers, Turner's lawyer denied the claim.)
The contractor's suit is ongoing. Meanwhile, Estremadoiro has emerged with a plan to remake the Brookfield as the Gotham Building.
Estremadoiro hopes to make green building practices a centerpiece of the renovation. He's also created the Gotham Arts Project, with the stated intent of changing the way properties are developed in Kansas City’s urban core and surrounding neighborhoods.
Estremadoiro leased space in the Brookfield at one time. "We need to do something with that building," he tells me. Estremadoiro says he's finalizing the contracts that will allow him to market the building to buyers.
Estremadoiro is not new to real-estate deals. In 1998, he sold the building that became 21 West Ten Lofts.