Katz on Main

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Chris Stritzel
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Chris Stritzel »

For the record here, the plan we all see is the only plan that preserves the Katz building and clocktower. To my understanding, another developer approached this site and had a proposal drawn up that would've seen Katz and the clocktower go. It's unclear if that team is still pushing for that project or not, but I assume not.

LuxLiving is trying to save and reincorporate a historic landmark into something new. They have limited room to work with here, so I applaud them for trying their best with this. I think they'll get it done regardless of the clocktower issue. The things that matter the most here are that the building and clock are both being saved with this plan along with the addition of new housing units and one less surface parking lot.

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beautyfromashes
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by beautyfromashes »

You likely won’t even see the new part of the building when driving north or south on Main. You’ll just see the clock tower. I don’t really see any major problems with the development. Glad to see it happening.

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chaglang
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by chaglang »

There were multiple teams who made offers on the property who would have preserved the clocktower and building. It's not LuxLiving or demo.

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normalthings
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by normalthings »

CPC approved the new design. These new renderings include changes made to appease the neighbors. Some of the requested changes including switching from red to grey brink on facades facing the Katz to make KATZ stand our from the new apartments. Removed the patio roof next to the clock tower. Some of the color & material choices are not yet locked in so they do vary between renderings.

Angled parking was traded for an extra wide sidewalk. I know there have been discussions about renovating the base KATZ building to support future retail or F&B. I wonder if this new outdoor sidewalk space may be converted to outdoor dinning when the market picks back up. Rooftop of the KATZ is not confirmed for amenities because a structural study is still ongoing. Historic Tax credits are being sought and construction will start once those are approved (they say hopefully summer or early fall)

Units: 192
Parking: 165


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langosta
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by langosta »

That green space will be a great place to watch streetcars from! I'm not a fan of adding more gray but if it appeases Historic KC then......

Troubling that they referred to the apartment building as "a price we believe it is more than acceptable to pay" to save the KATZ.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Chris Stritzel »

Two more images...
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Midtownkid »

Looks a bit better. Glad the element behind the clock tower is a bit shorter.

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FangKC
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by FangKC »

I wish they could find an old Katz sign to put on the corner.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by moderne »

At least they got the font on the Katz sign correct. But yeah, one of the animated black cats they had on some other stores would be great.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by DaveKCMO »

Dear City Plan Commissioners:

For over 45 years, Historic Kansas City (HKC) has worked for the advancement and protection of the scenic and historic assets of Kansas City. The community and economic revival power of historic places is demonstrated and real, and in the bedrock of it all is historic neighborhoods and commercial districts.

As preservationists, we know from years of experience that adaptive reuse is frequently the best outcome and sometimes the only outcome for saving historic places. A prime example is Union Station in Kansas City. This must be one of the most massive adaptive reuses in the history of the field and something we as a community can be very proud of.

The Katz Drugstore building on Main Street at Westport Road is an architectural icon and landmark in this community and a high priority save for preservationists. Built in 1934, it was the first major work of famed architect Clarence Kivett, incorporating elements of both Art Deco and Art Moderne styling.

We are willing to accept that this may entail additional construction in or around the historic building, and if properly done that is a price we believe can be paid. Further, there is an historic context where this property sits. There is a business district full of historic buildings and historic residential neighborhoods all around. If we give the Katz building new purpose and enliven that site, hopefully there will be great spillover effect to environs. That is a worthy preservation goal.

On two occasions, Historic Kansas City (HKC) was invited to meet with members of the development team of the Katz Drugstore redevelopment project. We found the enhanced architectural illustrations and discussion to be informative. Transparency in the Westport Road entrance is a great improvement. Stepping back the upper most floors of the adjacent tower from the historic Katz clock tower is a step in the right direction.

We don't usually endorse projects unless they are rather faithful restorations or stellar reuses. And of course we can't always rely on what we are shown beforehand. Different outcomes do eventuate and require vigilance from all interested parties. Still, we feel inclined to recommend the proposed redevelopment of the Katz building and site with the following reservations.

Although we understand that economics may compel otherwise, certainly if we had our preference the addition would be shorter and smaller in scale so to match the area context of smaller-scale buildings. And certainly there would be further pulling back of the high-rise structure from the existing historic structure.

The architectural illustrations are well done, yet they do not represent the authentic materials and colors of the historic Katz Drugstore building. HKC remains concerned with the grey palette of materials and colors used. We believe revised authentic renderings should be prepared.

Stepping back the upper most floors of the adjacent tower from the historic Katz clock tower is a step in the right direction. The “Overlook” continues to dominate the clock tower. The clock tower needs to be viewed with sky on all four side.

Many bodies, such as the City Plan Commission, Preservation Commission, and National Park Service, some with great preservation expertise, will be reviewing this project. We believe that with this level of oversight good outcomes can and will be attained. Given such review different outcomes will eventuate and require final review with submission of material samples to HKC prior to an official endorsement.

This proposal is an example of how the community and developers can work together for the best possible result. We appreciate the opportunity to be part of the process and believe that a cooperative approach involving all relevant stakeholders is key to the success of projects like this one.

We ask that the City Plan Commission recommend approval of the development plan in Case No. CD-CPC-2020-00207_Katz Drugstore subject to the conditions outlined in this letter.

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FangKC
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by FangKC »

Again, I am a preservation advocate, but I don't see any problem with the scale of the proposed addition. This obsession HKC has with preserving the current scale of everything will mean we only get two-story buildings on vacant lots in most of the city south of the river. Preservation should be more directed at keeping the existing structure standing with its' features, or appearance, mostly unaltered, not what is going to be built next to it. Sure, a 45-story office building next door would be widely out of scale for that site. But a 6-story building isn't. Building heights vary to some degree in all historic cities.

The "forest for the trees" problem here is that the new addition might be the very thing that saves the historic retail building. Preservation should not always be "frozen-in-time." There are exceptions. You want the Wornall House to be frozen in time because it exists as a museum. This is not the case here.

It is likely that many developers would simply bulldoze the Katz building and put up a 4-story apartment building on the its' footprint and the parking lot.

Kansas City does need to take preservation more seriously. However, we also have to take density much more seriously if we want to fund city services. Reasonable people have to consider both, and not one to the exclusion of the other.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by moderne »

Historically until very recently there was a building taller than the proposed apartments almost directly across from Katz. It was an apartment with a curved facade just south of the grocery market. Would be nice to put a similar sized new building there. It would enclose the interesting little accidental piazza here with its collection of deco and moderne.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by WoodDraw »

Reading that letter I thought they were going to come out against it and was preparing myself to be angry.

I don’t find much merit in their objections, especially to the scale. But happy they’re not opposing.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Chris Stritzel »

moderne wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:22 pm
Historically until very recently there was a building taller than the proposed apartments almost directly across from Katz. It was an apartment with a curved facade just south of the grocery market. Would be nice to put a similar sized new building there. It would enclose the interesting little accidental piazza here with its collection of deco and moderne.
Anyone have pictures of this somewhere? Seems short sighted to have had it demolished, but I guess it depends on how many years ago it was demolished. It has to be before 2007 since Google Streetview shows the site you're talking about being a parking lot (as it is today).

This shows it in an aerial from 1991...
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Chris Stritzel
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Chris Stritzel »

FangKC wrote:
Tue Mar 16, 2021 7:52 pm
I wish they could find an old Katz sign to put on the corner.
I'll ask a guy I know here in St. Louis that collects old architectural details before buildings are demolished along with old, iconic signs. He may have an old Katz sign that he'd be willing to sell.

If anyone wants to know the name of the guy, his name is Larry Giles. He runs the National Building Arts Center, which is in the industrial town of Sauget Illinois in the Metro East of St. Louis. I've been to that place before, it's quite interesting.

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FangKC
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by FangKC »

Chris Stritzel wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 4:26 pm
moderne wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:22 pm
Historically until very recently there was a building taller than the proposed apartments almost directly across from Katz. It was an apartment with a curved facade just south of the grocery market. Would be nice to put a similar sized new building there. It would enclose the interesting little accidental piazza here with its collection of deco and moderne.
Anyone have pictures of this somewhere? Seems short sighted to have had it demolished, but I guess it depends on how many years ago it was demolished. It has to be before 2007 since Google Streetview shows the site you're talking about being a parking lot (as it is today).

This shows it in an aerial from 1991...
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The building was called The Montrose -- also called Ten-Forty Apartments. It was demolished in 1998.

https://kchistory.org/islandora/object/ ... ffset%5D=1

https://kchistory.org/islandora/object/ ... ffset%5D=2

https://kchistory.org/islandora/object/ ... ffset%5D=8

https://kchistory.org/islandora/object/ ... ffset%5D=4

Sanborn Map

https://kchistory.org/islandora/object/ ... ffset%5D=3

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beautyfromashes
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by beautyfromashes »

Do we have a picture around the time it was demolished? I thought I remember it being much shorter. My memory could be fading though. So many buildings torn down.

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chaglang
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by chaglang »

In the Katz book that came out a few years ago there is a measured drawing of the cat head sign on a piece of grid paper, presumably for people interested in making a Katz sign of their own at home.

earthling
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by earthling »

Would be great if they made a replica if not able to find an original.

BTW, found these including other locations...
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Downtown KC...
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STL location on Manchester...
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Isaac "Ike" Katz, who would go on to found the Katz Drug Co. in Kansas City and become a pioneer in the modern pharmacy business, was born in the town of Husiatin in western Ukraine (then a part of Russia) on March 8, 1879. Ike Katz brought customers into his drug stores with a unique business model, where customers could fill prescriptions, shop for groceries, buy appliances, and even purchase exotic pets such as monkeys or baby alligators; all at cut-rate prices. At its peak in the 1950s and 1960s, the company boasted 65 retail locations spread across seven states.
https://kchistory.org/week-kansas-city- ... atz-cradle

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Midtownkid
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Midtownkid »

moderne wrote:
Wed Mar 17, 2021 3:22 pm
It would enclose the interesting little accidental piazza here with its collection of deco and moderne.
Moderne, I love that description of the intersection. I also really hope none of the existing buildings will be torn down!

I'd love to see an new building on that site with the same massing as The Montrose. A modern aesthetic could be cool if done right. Maybe with a terracotta skin? (many new buildings in NYC are using terracotta again).

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Or maybe it could include some balconies and be a bit like the apartment building that was torn down on Paseo. I've always loved that design.

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