The historic Pickwick Plaza, built in 1930, was a landmark of downtown Kansas City and an early example of a mixed-use urban center. The massive 360,000 square-foot complex occupies three-quarters of a city block on the eastern edge of Kansas City’s business district. The array of uses housed by the complex made it a destination in downtown Kansas City. These uses included offices, a hotel, a parking garage, a regional bus terminal, ground-level retail storefronts, a restaurant, and a radio studio. It was a frequent retreat of President Harry S. Truman during the 1950’s after he left the White House. Shortly after the bus terminal and office block closed, the hotel was re-configured into low-income housing in 1972. This use was later abandoned as well. The historic structure sat vacant and dilapidated for many years before Gold Crown Properties began their decade-long effort to rehabilitate the historic complex in 2008.
The rehabilitation converted the building into 200 apartment units. Rosin Preservation guided the team through the process, ensuring that changes to the historic character-defining features were minimized, while the project remained economically viable. Special care was given to protecting the Art Deco styling on the exterior and to restoring the iconic clocktower that rises above the bus terminal. An intrusive mezzanine was removed, allowing the project to recapture the historic two-story height of the lobby and to refurbish the high-quality original finishes (terrazzo floors, marble columns, and plaster details on walls and ceilings). Reactivating retail space on three sides of the building at street level has brought pedestrian activity to the street, while reestablishing the historic complex as a mixed-use destination.
Combining local incentives with federal and state historic tax credits helped bring the $66 million rehab project to its successful completion. The rehabilitated mixed-use building is fully occupied and providing a catalyst for revitalization in the eastern portion of downtown Kansas City.
901-911 McGee Street, Kansas City, MO