Conversion of downtown’s Midwest Hotel into apartments takes an early step forward

A new development plan would save the Midwest Hotel building, 1925 Main St., and convert it into apartments.
A new development plan would save the Midwest Hotel building, 1925 Main St., and convert it into apartments. File photo

A $72 million plan to turn the Midwest Hotel, a long-vacant former hotel building near 20th and Main streets in downtown Kansas City, into nearly 300 apartments earned its first approval by the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority on Thursday.

The agency approved a funding agreement and a general development plan with a development partnership that includes Wit Solberg of Mission Peak Capital and Michigan-based City Club Apartments.

The partnership plans to preserve the Midwest Hotel, a historic five-story structure across the street from the Rieger Hotel, and turn it, along with much of the rest of that block, into a new apartments. Ground-level retail is also contemplated as part of the plan.

The proposal solves not only the lingering problem of the Midwest Hotel on Main Street along the streetcar line, but also finally gives new hope for the site of the old Hereford House steakhouse, which burned down in an arson blaze in 2008.

The partnership had assembled ownership of the property for about five years, aided by Cushman & Wakefield real estate broker Gib Kerr.

The Planned Industrial Expansion Authority also approved a finding of blight at a vacant Northland office building, which would pave the way for two new hotels under a proposal by KMG Hotels LLC.

Bryant Parker, an attorney with the White Goss law firm representing KMG Hotels, said his client plans to either substantially rehabilitate or demolish the 67,500-square-foot office building near Kansas City International Airport and replace the building with a 104-room hotel. Immediately south of that empty office building, the developers plan a second, 98-room hotel.

Parker said no operators for the hotels have been selected yet. KMG Hotels had originally sought to purchase another vacant office building to the north at 11020 Ambassador Drive, but the International Academy of Science ended up buying the building.

Altogether, Parker said his client’s project amounts to a $22 million development.

Steve Vockrodt: 816-234-4277, @st_vockrodt