Demolition crews on Monday will begin tearing down the blighted and crime-ridden Royale Inn, which stands at a major gateway to Kansas City’s downtown and historic Northeast neighborhoods.
The Royal Inn, at 600 The Paseo, for decades has been an eyesore and a magnet for crime, including drugs, prostitution and murders. In 2011, a woman’s body was found in a stairwell after she had been beaten and strangled.
Kansas City, which bought the motel last year, will have a ceremony at 9:15 a.m. Monday and will begin demolishing it at 9:45 a.m.
The demolition of the motel is a step in the continuing development of the Paseo Gateway Project, which is looking to transform the neighborhoods in the Independence Avenue corridor both west and east of The Paseo.
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Under the plan, the Independence Avenue and The Paseo intersection would be realigned to improve traffic and pedestrian safety as well as enhance connectivity to downtown and historic Northeast and East Side neighborhoods. Improvements include new sidewalks, bike lanes and new streetlights, according to the city.
The motel opened as the Northway Inn in 1965. The 61-unit motel featured a swimming pool, lounge and restaurant. The hotel was bought by the Prom Motor Hotels Inc. three years later.
In 1971, it became the Ramada Inn Downtown when Prom Motor Hotels became affiliated with Ramada Inns. The motel was renamed the Royale Inn in the late 1980s.
In January 2016, the Kansas City Council approved $2.7 million to purchase and demolish the motel, which included $1.8 million for the motel and $900,000 for asbestos removal and demolition of the vacant motel.