Historic Lahn Building to undergo renovations for apartments and retail

lahnUPDATED — The Lahn Building, which is newly on the Register of Historic Kansas Places, is about to undergo a renovation and be home to a retail shop and apartments once again.

“It’s going to be a really cool historic renovation,” says Sean Brennan, who owns the building with his wife, Chantelle.

The building, which is at 2208 E. Douglas just west of Grove and across from East High School, was built in 1922 by Latvian Jewish immigrants Eli Lahn and his son-in-law David Krashim.

It has been home to all kinds of businesses through the years, including restaurants, confectioneries, a women’s clothing store and a barbershop.

“It’s kind of an interesting story,” Brennan says. Lahn’s “family owned the building for decades.”

It was nominated to the historic register for its significance in local commerce.

“That block has been ignored for a long time,” Brennan says.

“The building has six apartments on the second floor that have been abandoned for a long time,” he says. “We are completely redoing those.”

The Brennans also are renovating the first floor, which once was home to three storefronts that eventually combined into two. Now, the Brennans will create a single space for Danielle Davis to move her Flying Pig Gift Boutique.

The Flying Pig opened at 2600 E. Douglas just east of Grove in 2009. Late last year, Davis’ ex-boyfriend entered the shop and shot her boyfriend before turning the gun on himself. The gunman later died.

Davis says her landlord asked her to move but didn’t mention the shooting.

“I wondered if it had anything to do with it,” she says.

Her former landlord, Mary Phillips, says the shooting wasn’t the issue.

“That really was just an unfortunate thing that happened,” she says. “I’m just glad she’s OK.”

Phillips says it was clear to her that Davis was out of space, and she was uncomfortable with her leaving some items outside the shop overnight.

Now Phillips is in talks with potential new tenants, and the Flying Pig is temporarily at 2214 E. Douglas. That’s just down from where Davis will locate in the Lahn Building.

“We’re going to grow a lot,” Davis says of that future space.

“We try to emphasize local, handcrafted, artisan things,” she says.

She makes her own natural bath and body products, such as lotion. There’s also custom-designed and hand-painted furniture.

Davis says she wants to have “more unique, one-of-a-kind things of value for your home.”

There’s also consignment.

Since she’ll be doubling her space, Davis says she may rent booth space to other retailers as well.

She says rent will help since her income is “not based just on what has sold.”

However, she says, “It’s still a risk.”

The Brennans have done some initial construction, such as replacing the roof and doing some demolition work.

“Construction I think is going to start in earnest probably April 1,” Sean Brennan says.

He’s an attorney with King, Brennan & Albin, which is known as the Accident Recovery Team.

The Brennans also own the property where his firm is located at 221 S. Topeka along with some residential rentals.

“We really like downtown,” Sean Brennan says. “We really like the Douglas Design District.”

He says he and his wife are open to buying more property in either area.

“We were really looking for something in the Douglas Design District,” he says of buying the Lahn Building a year ago.

“It’s a beautiful old red brick building. With some effort, it will really be a cool spot.”

Brennan adds that it will be “particularly a cool spot for the Flying Pig.”