Kansas City, MO

Sherman W. Dreiseszun: the real estate developer and banker who left his mark on Kansas City

CJ Coombs

On May 23, 1922, Sherman W. Dreiseszun was born to Polish Jewish immigrants in Kansas City, Missouri. He was a World War II veteran, and he was instrumental in building shopping centers in the Midwest as well as two of Kansas City's tallest buildings.

In 1946, Dreiseszun and his nephew, Frank Morgan, formed Vic-Gene Manufacturing Inc., a partnership where they would sell women's wear which were knockoffs. He and Morgan were co-owners of the Vic-Gene Manufacturing Company. Their popular knockoffs included the Pendleton jackets and corduroy slick shirts. Visit here to listen to a very interesting video of an interview with Dreiseszun dated 2004 that was associated with the era of the garment industry in Kansas City.

Later, operating under the name of MD Management, they began building shopping malls. During the 1960s when the two were building shopping malls, the first retail project opened in Overland Park, Kansas in 1963 called the French Market. He and Morgan opened another Overland Park mall called the Metcalf South Shopping Center.

The French Market was the first retail project of Kansas City-based entrepreneur Sherman Drieseszun. Drieseszun had cut his teeth in the garment business, acquiring Vic-Gene Manufacturing with his nephew and business partner Frank Morgan. (Source.)

In Edward S. Shapiro's A Time for Healing: American Jewry Since World War II published in 1995, Dreiseszun and Morgan were referred to as real estate barons.

In 1964, Dreiseszun and Morgan took over building the East Hills Mall in St. Joseph, Missouri operating under MD Management. In 1967, MD Management opened the first indoor mall called the Metcalf South Shopping Center. Also, they established a banking network.

Dreiseszun and Morgan left their mark in downtown Kansas City with two of the tallest buildings, the Town Pavilion constructed in 1986, and One Kansas City Place the following year. They made the Top 400 List of Wealthiest Americans in Forbes.

The savings and loan crisis of the early 1990s affected these developers and they were charged with allegedly fixing office rental bids. A 2012 updated article, Mall Owners Built Fortune Before Decline, discusses this topic. Visit here to read about it.

While associated with other malls in Colorado, Kentucky, Michigan, and Ohio, here are the malls in the Midwest that are credited to Dreiseszun and Morgan:

  • The French Market in Overland Park, Kansas (1963-2019)
  • Metcalf South Shopping Center, Overland Park, Kansas (1967-2014)
  • Metro North Mall, Kansas City, Missouri (1976-2014)
  • Oak Park Mall, Overland Park, Kansas (1975)

Frank Sherman Morgan died from cancer on October 15, 1993, at age 66. Sherman W. Dreiseszun was 85 when he died in Leawood, KS, on December 3, 2007.

Thanks for reading.

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Multi-genre writer and indie author with a BA in Eng Journalism & Creative Writing. My working career has been in law firms, and I retired early so I could be a writer all day. You could say I'm from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Missouri because I was born into the Air Force life. I love family, art, reading, history, true crime, travel, and research.

Kansas City, MO

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