12 E. Armour History and Remodel
12 E. Armour Boulevard is laden with history as rich as the baked goods that were once created within its walls. This building, which once housed Hostess Brands, inventor of the world-famous Twinkie, has a future just as exciting as its tasty past.
The story begins in the mid-1900’s with a young entrepreneur who had a passion for baking. Interstate Bakeries, a Kansas City-based company, was founded in the year 1930 by Raph Leroy Nafziger. Nafziger emerged from a family of bakers, with his first bakery having been located in a church basement on 6th and Prospect Avenue. Interstate has more than 60 bakeries across the country and distributes its products under multiple different brand names, such as Sunbeam, Dolly Madison, Wonder, and Hostess.
In 1937, Interstate merged with the Schulze Baking Company, Inc., a well-established Kansas City baker. From this point forward, the company continued to grow and expand. On July 15, 1969, the company expanded its name from Interstate to Interstate Brands Corporation in order to reflect the variety of performances, now including canning. However, the canning operation was sold five years later in 1974 in order to prioritize activities on what was the most important and profitable operation: baking. At this point in time, Interstate was stationed in Hartsdale, New York, but it wouldn’t be long until it moved back to its home in KC.
In fact, now that Interstate had obtained the separation between baking and other business dealings, Dale Putnam, who was named chief executive officer of Interstate in 1982, decided to move Interstate headquarters back to Kansas City, its historical base of operations, from Hartsdale, New York. Now that they were back in the homeland, the hope of the company was to increase profitability in order to remain at a level that was consistent with its largest competitors.
At the start of the 1990’s, Interstate was able to prove itself within the industry by buying out its largest competitor. It remained a leading force within the industry until the early 2000’s. In 2009, after Interstate emerged from a 2004 bankruptcy, the name of the company was changed to Hostess Brands in order to reflect the popularity of the Hostess treats. Within the same year, its headquarters moved to Irving, Texas.
Unfortunately for the company, 3 years later in January 2012, Hostess Brands sought bankruptcy protection yet again. This lead to the ceasing of all operations by the Kansas City headquarters. Mac Properties acquired and took over the property in August 2014. The renovation and remodeling process began in September of 2015.
The Hostess building is two stories tall and covers 33,000 square foot. The building is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The outcome of the renovation process is going to be 39 new apartments, which are scheduled for completion by September 2016.
Because the building contains such deep history within its walls, there are parts of the interior structure that will remain unchanged. For example, Missouri preservation officials were particularly interested in preserving Interstate Bakeries’ former boardroom as part of the historic rehabilitation project. Therefore, the unique oak-paneled boardroom will be incorporated as a living room and kitchen space in one of the project’s apartment units.
“It will be a unique, exciting place to live,” Peter Cassel, director of Mac Properties, said. “That’s the space where people talked about Twinkies, Ho Ho’s, and Wonder Bread.”
The name given to the renovated apartments is Interstate, due to the building’s history centered around Interstate Bakeries Corporation.