Adam Anthony Pfeifer, NCARB

Lenexa, Kansas 66215

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+continental building

Location: Kansas City, Missouri
Client: Withheld
Contractor: Withheld
Historical Consultant: Rosin Preservation
Cost: Witheld

Following an almost 7 year fund-raising effort, the Kansas City Athletic Club began construction in 1924. The modern day equivalent of a membership-based country club, the KCAC had nearly 2,000 members. Their new building would include all of the major amenities including parlors, game rooms, heavily ornimented ballroom, an indoor swimming pool with changing & locker rooms, sauna, basketball court, handball courts, etc. along with guest rooms for the members to stay. The menbership rolls were a Who's Who of Kansas City business and political magnates. In 1925 the roof terrace at the south side of the building was enclosed to create additional enclosed dining space for members.

The building remained in use for many years as it continued to adapt to changing times, becoming the Kansas Citian Hotel, incorporating the local Playboy Club, and eventually becoming the Mark Twain Office Tower. Hundreds of office tenants have came and went through the building over the last 40+ years leaving their mark by removing much of the historic fabric of the building at the floors that were originally guest rooms. However, the ballroom remained in use, the basketball court, handball courts, 7th floor swimming pool, and running track while still intact, had not been used for years and showed varying signs of wear.

In depth research began on the building learning more about its original history, unearthing the original plans for the building. Working with the new owners of the building, a program was developed to resurrect the building into a new ultra-luxury level apartment building in downtown Kansas City while putting back all of the original amenities of the building - even the 7th floor swimming pool. Plans included 154 Class-AA apartments, 30,000sf of tenant amenity space, a rooftop 'urban grotto,' and (3) retail spots at street level - one planned for restaurant space.

The apartments and their interiors were designed drawing inspiration from the high-rise apartment towers currently going up in New York. Each unit included a custom, stained kitchen package, quartzite counters, engineered hardwood floors, high ceilings with integrated light coves, concealed window treatments, and full-service home automation. Select units included inset balconies while the top four floors of the building were addressed as penthouse units.

The original public offering brochure distributed to members of the KCAC in 1917 explaining the new, proposed, building is available here. (55KB)

The project was, unfortunately, abandoned by the owner and the building was sold.

This work was completed while at NSPJ Architects. All historical photos are available in the public domain.