Developers want to convert the historic Pabst Brewing Co. and Pendergast buildings in the Crossroads Arts District to a boutique hotel that would be a destination for both travelers and local customers.
Aparium Hotel Group of Chicago and the investment firm Agman Partners have acquired the two buildings at 2101 and 2107 Central St. The purchase price was not disclosed.
Kansas City architectural firm El Dorado Inc. will design the 125-room hotel. The hotel will also have meeting spaces, a restaurant, a bar and lounge, and a rooftop deck and serve as a “living room for the Crossroads,” the developers said. Construction is scheduled to start in early 2016, with a mid-2017 opening planned. The hotel would have about 125 employees.
The owners plan to seek historic tax credits for the hotel.
Mario Tricoci, chief executive officer and managing partner of Aparium, said the company wanted to be part of the “flourishing, culturally rich and dynamic” Crossroads neighborhood.
He said the new hotel would serve as a place where people could stop by for dinner or for a drink before heading to a performance and where employees could take their laptops and have a business meeting in the lounge.
The Pabst building was constructed in 1911 as a bottling and distribution plant for the Pabst Brewing Co. Pabst later expanded its offices with the addition of what later became known as the Pendergast Building at 2101 Central. It was named for political boss Tom Pendergast after he leased the building in the 1920s for his Pendergast Distilling Co.
Pendergast Distilling sold near-beer and bottled water during the Prohibition era and was rumored to run an elaborate bootleg liquor operation at that location, the developers said.
The Pabst building later served as a warehouse for the Jones Store Co. and then the Davidson Furniture Co. The Pendergast building also was a warehouse for several furniture and hardware companies.
Tricoci, a Chicago hospitality executive and entrepreneur, and Kevin Robinson, formerly with Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, founded Aparium in Chicago in 2012. The partners said they saw a clear need for a company that could bring upscale service and accommodations to underserved cities but still maintain a distinct character for each property.
Kansas City was one of the top cities on their list for expansion for its “character, history and sense of pride,” Tricoci said.
“The Crossroads is really interesting in the very organic way it has come to be,” he said. “If they wanted great food and beverage places, they created them. If they wanted a great art gallery, they created it themselves. There are so many components — its proximity to downtown, to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, to light rail and the train station.”
Aparium will meet with local brewers, distilleries, vendors, farmers and others, and in those conversations it hopes to come up with a name that will resonate with Kansas Citians.
The company also said it was too early in the process to talk about room rates for the proposed hotel.
Aparium currently is involved in six hotels — a mixture of owned, operated and developed properties.
Hotels with ownership, part-ownership and managed operations are the Iron Horse Hotel in a century-old warehouse building in Milwaukee, as well as three hotels scheduled to open in 2016: the Hotel Covington in Covington, Ky., the Foundation Hotel in Detroit’s Fire Department Headquarters and the Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis’ Jackson Building.
Managed properties are the Charmant Hotel in the historic former Joseph B. Funke Candy Co. factory building in La Crosse, Wis., which will open later this summer, and the MC Hotel in Montclair N.J., also opening in 2016.
In the Crossroads, Jordon Ringel was the previous owner of the Pabst and Pendergast buildings.
“Aparium has been creating exciting and creative rehabilitation of historic properties in several other cities. We look forward to having them develop one of our largest Crossroads buildings,” said Suzie Aron of Aron Real Estate, who handled the negotiations for Ringel and the hotel group.