Homeowners are looking to turn the aging Topeka building into a rock climbing facility

Dave Jackson hopes to turn misfortune into opportunity.

The collapsed roof and collapsing second and third floors inside a 101-year-old building he co-owns at 911 N. Kansas Ave. Jackson said the disappearance of these floors would pave the way for the creation of a rock climbing site. indoor installation.

That’s what it’s trying to do, on the condition that the Topeka city government doesn’t first arrange for the building to be demolished, as it has been trying to do since 2019.

“We would erect a steel-framed structure inside the building with a steel roof, and then we would install the climbing facilities on the wall,” Jackson said Friday. “The building is about 50 feet high, which is enough for climbing.”

Jackson and his partners are working with a company that has created three climbing facilities in the Kansas City area. They are also trying to determine if they are eligible for financial incentives to help fund the work, he said.

Following:‘Every idea we looked at was not feasible’: Buildings in the shave or fix debate

The building has an estimated value of $4,040

The back of 911 N. Kansas Ave.  shows the collapsed roof and the state the building is in.  It has been vacant for years.

Jackson has owned Jackson’s Greenhouse in North Topeka since May 1968 and served four years as a Republican in the Kansas Senate before losing her seat in November 2004 to Democrat Laura Kelly, who is now governor.

The building at 911 N. Kansas was built in 1920, with the property having a current appraised value of $4,040, according to Shawnee County Assessor’s Office records.

Jackson recalled how this building for decades housed businesses including a doctor’s office and a dentist’s office. Two attorneys also had offices there, according to Topeka City Directory records.

But the building had been vacant for years when Jackson and his partners bought it in a foreclosure sale, he said.

Shawnee County appraisal records show the property was purchased in June 2016 by 911 N. Kansas LLC, which Jackson says involves himself and his wife, Annette Jackson, as well as Jerry and Linda Glasgow.

The Jacksons and Glasgows also co-own properties at 825 N. Kansas Ave. and 836 N. Kansas Ave., according to county assessment records.

Following:‘NOTO is here to lift me up’: Owner Shavonn Smith moves Nanny’s Soulfood to NOTO

Code violation notices quickly followed the purchase

Fallen lumber and building materials inside 911 N. Kansas Ave.  are the result of the collapse of the roof.

Shortly after buying 911 N. Kansas Ave., Dave Jackson said he and his partners began receiving code violation notices from the Topeka city government.

They got to work clearing the fallen debris from the roof and ceiling inside.

“Two years ago we gave it all up, but we haven’t been back since because the city issued a demolition notice that we’re fighting against,” Jackson said.

During that time, he said, he allowed artists to create images on the exterior facade of the building, including one depicting police brutality victim George Floyd.

Jackson and his partners sought to keep people out by installing a steel door in an area where a gaping hole exists at the rear of the building.

Photocopies pasted on the facade of the building

A sign outside 911 N. Kansas Ave.  invites passers-by to contact the city council to share their opinions.

Two copies of a photo of its interior, taken just outside the back of this building, were recently found taped to the front of the building.

They were accompanied by two copies of a message to the public from a person who did not identify themselves.

“This horror and public danger belongs to DAVE JACKSON of JACKSON GREENHOUSE,” the post reads. “Tell him what you think of his commitment to the public and his community. Also let the city council know that NOTO is just as important as the rest of the city.”

Whoever took the photo committed criminal trespass because it was clearly taken inside the property lines of 911 N. Kansas Ave., Jackson said.

He stressed that he and his partners were working for the improvement of NOTO.

“We’re doing our best,” Jackson said.

Virginia F. Goins