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Kansas City's Midwest Hotel opened in 1915, a period of rapid construction for this part of the city resulting from the growth of the city and the decision to build the new Union Station after flooding in the West Bottoms created logistical issues for the city's previous leading railroad terminus. The hotel was located within walking distance of Union Station and was the largest of many budget hotels built in the area at this time. For its first three decades, the hotel provided affordable accommodations for travelers in addition to short-term housing for many single and itinerant workers. The building was also the first home of the Hereford House restaurant, now a popular steakhouse chain in the Kansas City area. Shortly after Stella Parke purchased the hotel in 1943, the US War Department leased the building to support their operations, housing military police during WWII. The hotel operated for decades after resuming normal business in 1946. Over the years the building began to deteriorate. After threats of legal action from Jackson County prosecutors, Midwest Hotel shut the doors in 2005 and was later added to the list of Kansas City's most endangered historic buildings. At the same time, the new streetcar had been approved and construction of the route began down Main Street. In a consensus to revive the Crossroads, BKV Group of Minneapolis was hired to design a new apartment building on the lots at 20th and Main, which included the decrepit hotel property. The City Club Apartments opened in 2020 and the restored Midwest Hotel building serves as the development's amenities hub.

After a recent remodel, the Midwest Hotel building now serves at amenities hub for City Club Apartments

Building, Wheel, Tire, Cloud

Original structure is left exposed inside the renovated Midwest Hotel building, now amenities hub at City Club Apartments

Furniture, Table, Wood, Interior design

Midwest Hotel sat vacant for many years following 2005 sale

Cloud, Sky, Property, Window

Built in 1915, the Midwest Hotel is the largest of three remaining hotels in the area that were built following the relocation of Union Station from the West Bottoms in 1914. Along with the Rieger and Monroe, the purpose of these hotels was to accommodate both workers and travelers as more businesses moved into the area. With the growing need, Midwest Hotel offered 75 rooms, providing affordable and convenient lodging as it was home to many single workers without families and traveling salesmen who found it necessary to be in close proximity to their workplace. 

A few months after securing the bid for the Rieger Hotel, architects Smith, Rea, and Lovitt were hired by Joseph Harris to construct Midwest Hotel. Costing around $50,0000, this five-story hotel was designed like many at the time as a two-part commercial block building constructed from reinforced concrete and brick with terracotta veneers. Features unique to Midwest Hotel include rosette-framed terracotta tiles along the second through fifth floors and Black Vitrolite (a durable, shiny, colorful tile that was becoming increasingly popular at the time) surrounding the front facade. 

In 1943, Stella Parke, who had been operating the hotel for the last seven years under a lease agreement, purchased the property from Mr. Harris. Shortly after taking ownership, the United States War Department approached Mrs. Parke in April with plans to lease the hotel due to its proximity to Union Station and downtown. Not without protest, Midwest Hotel became a temporary headquarters for military police stationed in Kansas City during WWII. Possession was reinstated to Parke in 1946 and the hotel continued operating for many decades. The historic building deteriorated over the years as the city's business growth had shifted back to downtown. Jackson County prosecutors sued the hotel’s owner in 2003 in an attempt to force the sale of the building, alleging that ongoing drug use and prostitution were creating a nuisance for the area. In 2005, Midwest Hotel shut its doors. 

Owners of the hotel had plans to redevelop the building along with adjoining properties in 2008, until next door restaurant Hereford House was subject to arson. In a scheme to collect insurance in order to renovate their struggling downtown location, co-owner to Hereford House property Rodney Anderson hired two men who would then devise a plan using delayed ignition which created an explosion, destroying the restaurant. The plans for renovation ended there. Historic Kansas City Foundation reported that demolition for new construction would be likely, even though interest for renovation was shown by local developers. Midwest Hotel remained standing, but vacant. It was sold at auction in 2013 and put on the list for KC’s most endangered historic buildings in 2015. 

Revitalization began taking place in the Crossroads district when it was announced that the route of the new streetcar would run along Main Street from the River Market to Union Station. Architectural design firm BKV group of Minneapolis was hired to design a new apartment building in the lots adjacent to and including Midwest Hotel. The firm had experience renovating historic buildings and understood the importance of preserving as much of the original as possible. Making initial planning difficult, BKV Group did not know the extent of the dilapidated building. Deterioration and the occupancy of pigeons created a physical health threat so much that the architects were not allowed inside of the building, relying only on blueprints for interior measurements. After completion of the project, senior partner for BKV Group Mike Krych explained their process and how keeping the terracotta facade and exposed exterior brick is “a way to retain our collective memory of yesteryear.” The new, seven-story, 283-unit City Club Apartment building opened in 2020, while the renovated historic Midwest Hotel building serves as the apartment's amenities hub.

Missouri MPS Midwest Hotel, National Archives Catalog. Accessed November 17th 2021.

midtownkcposter. Midwest Hotel once served working class travelers, Midtown KC Post. June 26th 2013. Accessed November 17th 2021.

Rafter, Dan. Hordes of pigeons, a mysterious interior and a neglected building: BKV Group takes on the challenges to preserve Kansas City’s Midwest Hotel, REjournals. November 16th 2021. Accessed November 17th 2021.

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