Awards of Excellence:
Theo Poehler Mercantile

Year(s) Listed:
Location Class:
Built: 1904 | Year Saved: 2011
Contributor: Kansas Preservation Alliance

Built in 1904 as a four-story grocer distribution warehouse, the Poehler building has stood as one of the city’s most identifiable brick buildings of Lawrence’s East side. Given its ideal position adjacent to the railroad tracks, German immigrant Theodore Poehler built this warehouse to support his growing wholesale grocery business he started in the late 1880s with his brother August Poehler. The Poehler building, once part of a thriving economic industrial district of Lawrence, now stands nearly alone as one of the only survivors, but a great example of an early 20th century industry as its exterior façade has remained fundamentally unchanged over the years. After sitting vacant, the building was purchased in 2011 with the goal of converting it into usable living space.

After partitioning off the once wide open floor plan, the project team has successfully created 49 living units. Great effort was put forth to highlight original building material by cleaning and polishing existing concrete floors, exposing heavy timber wood structure, and cleaning the brick walls.   Other character defining features were revamped, such as the building safe, restored structures such as the original wood windows, or recreated them like the loading bay doors. When the project team elected to provide new openings, they did by respecting the building’s character.

Federal and state historic preservation tax credits were utilized to fund this rehabilitation.

The project team included East Lawrence Historic Partners LP, Rosemann & Associates, Rau Construction and Rosin Preservation LLC.

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