The Kansas City Club, once a meeting place for Kansas City’s elite, is back open as a premier event space downtown.
Developers spent two-and-a-half years converting the classic four-story building at Ninth Street and Baltimore Avenue that hosted Kansas City’s men’s clubs for nearly a century.
“It’s seen quite a bit of history, from Truman to Eisenhower to Pendergast, to all the famous names that were in Kansas City that might have come through this building either as the Kansas City Club later or the University Club before,” said Craig Slawson, co-owner and developer of the club.
The Kansas City Club originally occupied a building down the street at Baltimore and 13th Street, and the University Club occupied the building just south of Ninth. The two merged in 2001, and the Ninth and Baltimore building bore the Kansas City Club name until it went bankrupt in 2015.
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The $3 million project brought modern touches to the building while preserving its history. Traditional wood paneling marks the entryway, and a wood fireplace remains in one of the 10 event rooms. Banners from Yale University, Princeton University and the University of Texas that hung in the University Club were preserved and hang framed in the pub.
“It’s very traditional architecture — neoclassical on the outside, very traditional on the inside, a lot of wood,” Slawson said. “We preserved a lot of that, so it does exude a very traditional atmosphere.”
Slawson called the effort a “labor of love” and said construction crews had to repair or replace broken pipes, elevators and and air conditioners — “everything you can think about about a building that had been neglected when we inherited it.”
“We had a flood three days ago,” Slawson said. “We had a tree torn down yesterday.”
Slawson said the old club has already hosted one wedding, and he expects it will also be a hot spot for corporate events.