The historic Hutchinson Hoke building uses Reno County contractors.


“Hutch rebuilds Hutch” is how Mark Davenport describes the complete renovation of the historic Hawk Building, Hutchinson’s iconic downtown building that was first built in 1910 as office space and has been empty and waiting for decades.

When Mark and his wife Phoebe Davenport, a Kansas City high-profile residential and commercial real estate couple, first set about restoring a dilapidated building at First Avenue and Walnut Street in early 2021, they committed to making the most of local contractors. quite possible.

The couple finished the job. At every step of the way—from architectural changes to plumbing, electrical, plastering, painting, concrete, and more—the Davenports relied on local subcontractors to help turn the building into a 23-room boutique hotel with a wine bar and coffee shop. They plan to open the 4-story hotel in stages and are working to have the first and second floors ready for movement later this year.

But “Hutch rebuilds Hutch” isn’t just about Project Hoke. Davenport’s attempt to revive abandoned properties in downtown Hutchinson began in the summer of 2020 with the purchase of Plaza Towers and then the Leon Apartments – both in close proximity to Hoke. Mark Davenport said that “Hutch restores Hutch” was their mantra from the beginning.

“This is our business philosophy,” he said. “Instead of going to big contractors in Wichita, we’re working with people in Hutchinson or the local area who want to upskill.”

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Mark and Phoebe Davenport, who are licensed as a general contractor to manage the project and subcontractors, say there are many benefits to hiring local people. They said that local sub-contractors are more committed to the success of the project and willing to share ideas and collaborate.

“We got a license, became general contractors and transferred everything to licensed specialists,” he said. “Mostly it is a small business, which is very nice. They work great.”

“It’s also fun,” he added, “because it’s often the first project they do, and so sometimes we come up with the best solutions together. We are in the same boat – we are doing a project like Hoke for the first time. Renovating the Hoke Building is very different from building a single family home, so we appreciate their courage in playing their part in this project.”

While work on the Plaza is winding down and continuing on Leon, the first outward signs of progress on Hawk appeared in September.

Ybarra Painting covered the 4-story, 16,000-square-foot building with dark gray paint after ML Nevius Masonry finished laying out. Sturgeon Glass & Mirror provided the commercial windows, and C&C Home Improvement installed custom top floor windows in December.

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“It was a huge thrill,” said Mark Davenport. “It was the first part of the project where something was finished.”

While not as obvious, there has been a lot of work going on on the interior.

Yoder Builders installed a new concrete floor at ground level that was brought to ground level to restore the floor to its original height in accordance with ADA standards. Malloy Plumbing and Plumbing Solutions and Service handled the plumbing work and Service Plus Electrical Solutions handled the electrical work, which required the removal of part of the street and alley to make room for underground structures.

Rock Renovation is responsible for the interior framing, while M&M’s Construction handles plaster repairs and wall preparation.

Interior designer Em Galliart, owner of Lark Design Group, assisted the Davenports with the initial space planning and will help create an inviting and functional interior that respects Hoke’s history and character.

“I think she (Em) was really smart to cram everything in – in terms of bathrooms and making sure everything was the right size – because it’s a puzzle,” Mark said. “She is gorgeous”.

Phoebe said Mann & Company architects, working with Engineering Consultants, built the foundation.

“They’ve been very creative in thinking outside the box about how we can meet the code without taking away a lot of history,” she said. “It was a difficult process to work with them, but I feel like they were very flexible and creative and it helped us get to the point where we had a workable project.”

Hutchinson photographer Kristen Garlow Piper documented the transformation at every stage, with local organizations providing fuel. Mark said Michelle Inskip of Peoples Bank and Trust, Aubrey Patterson and Dell Swierer of Hutch Community Foundation and Jackson Swierer of StartUp Hutch were their local funding partners. The three organizations joined NetWork Kansas to initially invest nearly $1.2 million in construction loans into the project.

Saving Hoke

Along with hiring locals, the Davenports strive to celebrate Hawke’s historic character.

According to Phoebe Davenport, the tops of many of the building’s approximately 60 windows were boarded up, so they removed the coverings to reveal the original brick openings. The false ceilings were also removed, raising the height of the ground floor walls to about 20 feet and exposing the original ceilings covered in decorative tin tiles.

According to Phoebe Davenport, the cracked and swollen lacquer on the original wood structure only adds to the character. The couple has no plans to change it.

Original fixtures, such as toilet paper holders in the building’s only set of bathrooms, will be restored. Even items that cannot be reused, such as cast iron radiators finished with exquisite details, will be repurposed.

Hawke is listed on the state and national historical registers, which may restrict certain property modifications and be a source of frustration for many developers, but the Davenports don’t mind. They work with a historical consultant to make sure the renovation is up to par.

“I think a lot of people sometimes fight with historical people because they are very picky about how they want you to do it,” Phoebe Davenport said. “But we really wanted to keep history. So there have been a few hiccups along the way, but for the most part, what they want us to do is what we would like to do for the project.”

Davenports are required to maintain all existing walls – within reason, unless changes are necessary for the safety of guests. The original elevator in the building was scrapped and removed in the 60s, but the shaft remains and will need to be modified to accommodate an ADA compliant elevator. A second staircase will also be installed in the southern part of the hotel in accordance with the regulations.

Historical rules are the least of Davenport’s frustrations. Issues related to COVID and inflation hinder progress. The necessary materials are harder to obtain and much more expensive. It took a year for the windows to be delivered, partly due to Pella moving her factory.

The initial funding was to bring the Hoke to its current state. However, due to the building being listed as a Historic Landmark, the Davenports have received historical tax credits that will help cover a significant portion of the renovation costs. The loans can be used to secure the bridge loan that the couple is currently pursuing. They are also constantly looking for local investors.

“I’m always interested in developing investor relations,” said Mark Davenport, “and there are different ways that can work. If people are interested in what we do and want a return on their investment, we have places where we can invest that will benefit everyone.”

Despite all the disappointments and setbacks, the Davenports say they treasured Hoke’s recovery and can’t wait to see the end result.

“It’s been a long journey,” said Phoebe Davenport, “but it was a very interesting project. We love historic buildings and the whole process of reviving them.”

The Davenports operate as Levare Properties. For more information about the Hoke and other properties, visit, which also includes links to social media profiles.

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