SomeraRoad Inc. has started tearing down the former Weld Wheel Industries Inc. building as a precursor to the first projects in its $526.7 million West Bottoms plan.

Workers on Monday were doing interior demolition on the nine-story building at 933 Mulberry St. Last week, Kansas City permitted the full structure’s teardown by Remco Demolition LLC.

The building first served as a warehouse within the block’s Ridenour-Baker Grocery Co. complex between 1910 and 1919. It later housed Weld Wheel from 1978 to 2003, when the race car wheel maker departed for new facilities near Truman Sports Complex.

 Since then, the Weld Wheel building has sat vacant. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2014. At the time, developer Wayne Reeder planned a 189-apartment conversion as part of a bigger project, the View II at WB, but it didn’t pan out. Interstate Underground Warehouse and Industrial Park Inc., operated by Reeder’s family, sold SomeraRoad the Weld Wheel building and six other nearby properties for $3.8 million in December 2021.

The city in April agreed to give SomeraRoad $2.6 million to help offset demolition costs. The New York developer says the work will be a six-month process, factoring in the building’s abatement, demolition expected to occur through May and material removal set to wrap up in the third quarter. Traffic control plans approved for the demolition call for track closings to be coordinated with Union Pacific, which has routes abutting the Weld Wheel site’s northwest corner.

“Our team is grateful for the support and partnership from the City in moving this redevelopment project forward in a thoughtful way that limits short term interference, while optimizing the long-term strength, success and vitality of the West Bottoms,” said Grant Hromas, vice president of development and Kansas City office lead with SomeraRoad, in an email Monday.

The Weld Wheel building’s demolition comes as the City Council prepares to review a tax increment financing plan, meant to help fund $42.3 million in new public infrastructure within SomeraRoad’s 21-acre development area, plus measures activating the incentives around its first two project phases. The Finance, Governance and Public Safety Committee could consider the measures later this month.