Packard Building

Project: Packard Building, Wichita, Kansas
Client: GLMV Architecture
Services by Spencer Preservation: Listing on the National Register of Historic Places and Application for Federal and State Historic Tax Credits
Investment: $3.3 million
Recognition: LEED Certification; Wichita’s Keeper of the Plains Award Constructed in 1930 by J. Arch Butts to house his Packard Dealershipthe building served as home to the Butts Auto Company until the early 1940s and later to Hobbs Chevrolet until the early 1960s. The Packard Building at 1925 E. Douglas Avenue was among the early auto-related business on Wichita’s new “Auto Row,” reflecting a shift from their traditional downtown locations.

The building served its original function as an auto dealership for more than thirty years, until 1963.  An excellent representative of a modern auto dealership and showroom, The J. Arch Butt Packard Building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. 

When two established Wichita firms- Gossen Livingston Architects and McCluggage Van Sickle Architects- merged in 2010, the new entity, GLMV Architecture, was in the market for a new home.  They purchased the old Packard Building at 1525 E. Douglas in Wichita from McCormick Armstrong Printers who had been using the building for storage.

The architects designed their new offices themselves and partnered with Conco Construction, Inc..  The building underwent a $3 million rehabilitation converting the old auto dealership to the new home of GLMV Architecture.  The project included repairs to the glazed terracotta facade, restoration of the original industrial steel windows, and recreation of the corner marquee sign.  The original auto showroom was converted to the firm’s reception area, conference rooms, and front offices.  The rear garage became home to additional offices, conference rooms, and a large break room that doubles as a training facility.  The old ramp to the second floor was overlaid with steps with research lounges established along the ramp.  The second floor originally comprised of a center display window, washing bay, and service areas, was converted to an open office housing work stations for more than 100 architects and designers.

The historic steel windows presented significant challenges for the new office use and efficiency goals of the firm.  The creative solution involved installation of interior storm windows along the front half of the building and new insulated replica units on the rear half of the building.  Interior finishes include the original exposed bow trusses at the ceiling and exposed masonry walls. 

Spencer Preservation listed the building on the National Register of Historic Places under the Roadside Kansas Multiple Property Submission as a representative of the Auto Showrooms and Dealerships property type.  Spencer worked with the architects to achieve a successful rehabilitation project that was approved for federal and Kansas rehabilitation tax credits.  The project achieved basic LEED certification and was recognized locally with Wichita’s 2012 Keeper of the Plains award, recognition by the Wichita Area Chamber of Commerce for an architectural project that contributes to the beauty of the Wichita community.

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