130-year-old Topeka apartment building gets a new lease on life

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Since 1889, the Hicks Block Row House Apartments have stood at the corner of 6th St. and Tyler.

130 years later, Falk Architects — a local architect group — is working to breathe new life into the historic property.

"It's got really cool fireplaces inside, stained glass windows, tall windows, neat features that are just kind of needing a little bit of help,” Bryan Falk, an architect on the project, said.

The building will undergo renovation in two phases to bring it back to its former glory.

"As far as the walls and the doors and the windows, we're really trying to keep those all in place, being really sensitive to the old building and its cool character,” Falk said.

Hicks Block will see upgrades to its heating and cooling systems, as well as electrical upgrades and plumbing improvements.

Right now, the complex is at one third of its capacity, but that'll increase over time.

"We're taking it kind of one apartment unit at a time,” Falk said. “So we're renovating one, trying to find a tenant for that space, and then move on to the next one."

Hicks Block is on the National Register of Historic Places, woven into the fabric of Topeka for over a century.

With the upcoming project, Falk hopes to keep it there for centuries more.

"It's got a great character, and we're just trying to preserve what's there, just polish it up a bit and make it good for the next hundred years,” Falk said.

Falk expects his team to complete the project in 18 months to two years.