Katz on Main

Discuss items in the urban core outside of Downtown as described above. Everything in the core including the east side (18th & Vine area), Northeast, Plaza, Westport, Brookside, Valentine, Waldo, 39th street, & the entire midtown area.
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Midtownkid
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Midtownkid »

DaveKCMO wrote:
Wed Mar 10, 2021 2:26 pm

* Midtown shirtwaists and colonnades will be encased in amber, forever.
The city is large and full of empty land! Why should we tear down Art Deco retail buildings and our signature colonnades apartment when we have empty lots nearby? Troost is full of empty lots. Main is full of empty lots and under-inspiring architecture. There is no excuse to keep destroying and rebuilding the popular areas of our city. We need to develop the non-popular areas and make them better. Tearing down buildings is also bad for the environment! Also, they tried to add density to midtown neighborhoods in the 1960s-70s. It totally changed the feel of parts of Hyde Park and Westport neighborhoods. People aren't impressed by those cheap little mansard-roof walkups, they are impressed by the neighboring homes (and wonder who in the hell let them build those apartments right next to them).

Wanting new buildings to be thoughtfully designed and sensitive the city's existing fabric is not a bad thing. Many of the older buildings in urban KC are majestic and distinctive. Almost every single new building built in the 2000s-now is comparatively unattractive. Look at their materials, durability, urban interaction, pedestrian scales, etc. Few 'new' buildings have anything unique about them. If you were to look at photos of our newer buildings out of context, you could never guess what city they were in. Our historic buildings define our city and give it a sense of place. Shoving a bunch of new-build trash onto our thoroughfares and historic neighborhoods for the sake of density is not going to make us a better or more attractive city. This is especially true when you consider that almost all new buildings have a parking podium at the base and terrible pedestrian interaction.

I don't think taking a second look at preliminary designs for the Katz development is a bad thing. The current design has issues. New units are good. But why not be careful how they are arranged? The clock tower is a monument along Main. It is a fine example of early streamline-modern design. It was designed by Kivett and Myers, a prolific local firm that was responsible for many important buildings in our city (including KCI). The tower was modeled after the Science Building from the 1934 Chicago World's Fair. Why not respect it? The architects of the new buildings didn't get it right the first time. Anyone with a good design eye noticed the issue. It's not just the Historic KC people. Elizabeth Rosin noticed the bad design as well.

Some places like San Francisco and certain areas of Manhattan have been 'encased in amber'. I'm damn glad they were because they are much more interesting places to visit because of that.

Image Image
Last edited by Midtownkid on Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:30 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Midtownkid
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Midtownkid »

IMO, it is truly as simple as this:

before

Image

Redesign

Image

This would let the tower standout. The pool would get better sun, too. I wouldn't mind if they want to put those unit back in a small penthouse level at the corner of Westport and Baltimore. I think the extra step would seem a little more deco anyway.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by DaveKCMO »

I take the long view: Many buildings we cherish today were not considered inspiring or contextually-sensitive in their day.

You know this. We all know this.

But somehow, a new building today is discarded as "another boring box" by armchair architects when the city is actually littered with "boring boxes" built of the same materials (and not "designed by architects"): red bricks, concrete frame, and the same basic style of window. Or in the case of houses, the shirtwaist probably ordered from a fucking Sears catalog.

So, yeah, I cherish these buildings but I don't place them above new ones that add to the vitality and density of a city that can and should evolve with the times.

Also, KCI is being demolished because it is functionally obsolete.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by chaglang »

Buildings that can't evolve tend to get torn down. Preservation should be about continued vitality, not creating holy relics.

It would be interesting to see if the neighborhood types would let the building go up an extra floor in order to keep the building away from the clocktower. Tradeoffs...

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Re: Katz on Main

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DaveKCMO wrote:
Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:37 pm
I take the long view: Many buildings we cherish today were not considered inspiring or contextually-sensitive in their day.

You know this. We all know this.

But somehow, a new building today is discarded as "another boring box" by armchair architects when the city is actually littered with "boring boxes" built of the same materials (and not "designed by architects"): red bricks, concrete frame, and the same basic style of window. Or in the case of houses, the shirtwaist probably ordered from a fucking Sears catalog.

So, yeah, I cherish these buildings but I don't place them above new ones that add to the vitality and density of a city that can and should evolve with the times.

Also, KCI is being demolished because it is functionally obsolete.
I see your point about our changing view of buildings over time. However, the way buildings are designed and the materials available are just not the same today. Buildings used to be designed for people first, not designed for cars and utilities. There was a sense of pride that everyone held in the design and construction of a building. The owners had pride in the way the product looked. The architect's were trained to consider aesthetics and architectural orders. (Today they all seem to design from the inside out, with little thought given to the overall composition). And most importantly the builders had pride in their work.

Have you ever ran CA on a new-construction apartment project? I have. Everyone is trying to cut corners and brushing things under the rug. The main goal for the owners and contractors is to hurry up and save money. The way the design-build process works now simply doesn't lead to 'great' buildings.

So yeah, maybe some of the shirtwaist houses did come out of a Sears catalog, but that doesn't mean they are shit. They are 100% better than the suburban tract house built today. Take a look: they are designed/finished on all 4 sides, they have thoughtful details that give them character, and they were built out of materials that are simply not available now. They have lasted 100 years!

I'm not against the new apartments at the Katz building. I just think the design can be improved. Did you see my quick rendering? Pretty simple fix that leads to a less clunky design, and allows the clock tower to stand out. That's not stopping the parcel from evolving, it's just being thoughtful about the design.

I often feel like your point of view is: 'Density first, everything else be damned'. Yes, we should develop under-used parcels on Main St. However, we should incorporate the existing buildings along the corridor that have character. New construction should complement these structures, not overshadow them. Maybe you aren't aware of this, but many visitors to our city are really impressed by the architecture. It is an asset.

Do you really think it's necessary to go into Valentine and Hyde Park and demolish the houses and colonnades in order to make the city more vital? That's foolish. This isn't Manhattan, the area between State Line and Troost isn't the only space we have. We need to develop the utterly decimated East Side before we start messing with our popular, established neighborhoods. I would argue that filling in our empty spaces first would make the city more vital. Think about it. Destroying the beautiful, urban, single-family neighborhoods we still have would just drive those buyers out to NE JOCO. Do we really want that? A city should provide housing for all kinds of different people. Just because you can't appreciate a tree-filled neighborhood of 100 year old homes doesn't mean nobody else does. You simply can't find neighborhoods like Hyde Park and Brookside in the urban core of Chicago or NYC. They are a great asset to KCMO.

Also, what is more affordable: a brand new building or an old building? Check the rental rates around town. Old colonnades and the historic Poet Apartments (west of the plaza) are way more affordable than the new buildings being built in those same neighborhoods. In addition, small businesses seem to gravitate toward our old, existing storefronts while new-build storefronts are either banks or left empty. Think about that.
Last edited by Midtownkid on Thu Mar 11, 2021 11:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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normalthings
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Re: Katz on Main

Post by normalthings »

I think the neighborhood groups directly mentioned the height of the surrounding buildings being 2-3 floors and less so the clock tower. They just don't want density on any lots in or around Westport (see Westport Terrace and OPUS).

My hot take: the tower alone is not overly special or attractive and is 100% replaceable. Unlike many of our historic buildings existing or demolished, this clocktower seems to be pretty basic in its design and construction and easily replicated if someone wanted to. Sure it should be preserved if possible, but I have no qualms about building right about up to. Why should a factory-produced brick box from 1950 have an outsized effect on the lives of people today?

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by beautyfromashes »

normalthings wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 11:39 am
I think the neighborhood groups directly mentioned the height of the surrounding buildings being 2-3 floors and less so the clock tower. They just don't want density on any lots in or around Westport (see Westport Terrace and OPUS).
Let’s be honest, there are no neighborhood groups in Midtown. There are a few loud older people who have been
Around for awhile, most people renting and business groups that don’t want to see change. They create difficulties for city representatives because they paint themselves the opinion of the neighborhood which isn’t really the case. But, they can’t be ignored because who else represents the neighborhood? The height restrictions in Westport are so terrible. Build it up.

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Re: Katz on Main

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beautyfromashes wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:44 pm

Let’s be honest, there are no neighborhood groups in Midtown.
Actually, several of the actual neighborhoods in midtown do have organizations! Roanoke, Hyde Park, Valentine, Coleman Highlands, and Southmoreland all have groups. The core of Westport doesn't and I suppose that is the area you are referring to. I agree Westport can support more density. I actually like the new Opus building. It fits that intersection quite well and engages that corner.

I think there are strategic places where new, dense development should go. For example I think they should protect the intimate, historic nature of Pennsylvania from Westport Rd, south. And I don't want to see a proposal to replace Kelly's with a glass high-rise. They should build up Westport Rd from Broadway to Main. Concentrate on renovating and developing Main. Just don't demolish all the existing buildings to do it.

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Re: Katz on Main

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Midtownkid wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 12:55 pm
I think there are strategic places where new, dense development should go. For example I think they should protect the intimate, historic nature of Pennsylvania from Westport Rd, south. And I don't want to see a proposal to replace Kelly's with a glass high-rise. They should build up Westport Rd from Broadway to Main. Concentrate on renovating and developing Main. Just don't demolish all the existing buildings to do it.
Yes, the painted ladies south of Westport should definitely stay. I j or several people who would chain themselves to them if it meant keeping them. I’m sure they’re safe. And Kelly’s is an icon. But, there are several places that were carved out for low rise only that really should be higher density, like you mentioned.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Chris Stritzel »

The current plans are just fine in my view. It's not too intrusive on the clock tower, the clock tower will be cleaned up and restored, and the building remains and becomes a key part of the neighborhood again and new apartment community.

Cities are supposed to evolve over time. KC is no different. This site is key along the Streetcar route and as such, it should be able to evolve to support higher densities and a greater land usage.

Is the clock tower an icon? Yes. I think that this new apartment building will enhance it.

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Re: Katz on Main

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normalthings wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 11:39 am
My hot take: the tower alone is not overly special or attractive and is 100% replaceable. Unlike many of our historic buildings existing or demolished, this clocktower seems to be pretty basic in its design and construction and easily replicated if someone wanted to. Sure it should be preserved if possible, but I have no qualms about building right about up to. Why should a factory-produced brick box from 1950 have an outsized effect on the lives of people today?
1950? What building are we talking about here?

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Re: Katz on Main

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I agree with Midtown that the new building should be set back further from the clock tower.

Just because something can be duplicated doesn't mean we shouldn't evaluate preserving the building. I want to even move away from calling it historic preservation and start considering it preservation from a climate perspective. A building like the Katz drugstone is still a functional building, and can serve several purposes. It's parking lots are actually its' true value, because they can be used to add new density. That is why I made the point about neighborhood groups opposing the current height. We need to make vacant parcels more dense to justify saving some of the less dense retail buildings. I would support the new apartment building being as high as 10-stories.

Just because I think we should weigh each situation from a preservation point-of-view because of our climate crisis, that doesn't mean I wouldn't support demolition of some buildings to support a larger project. However, I think when we do this, we need to really be concerned that the new development attempts to meet green standards. An example is the Second and Delaware project built by Jonathan Arnold in the River Market.

For example, I have no objection to these buildings being demolished so something denser can go along that stretch.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.0482511 ... !1e3?hl=en

Or these:

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.0612886 ... !1e3?hl=en

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by normalthings »

Isn't the building proposed near the tower over what is today asphalt? How does setting the building back from the clocktower improve things from a bulldozing = climate waste perspective? As is, it maximizes new construction over driveway & parking lot.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by FangKC »

This is the design before.

Image

This is the design with more setback from the tower.

Image

The design before.

Image

The design after showing more setback. The new retail, or lobby entrance, portion built over the asphalt would still remain.

Image

Any lost apartments from adding more setback could be made up by adding them on an additional floor on the Baltimore frontage like MidtownKid suggested.
Last edited by FangKC on Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by TheLastGentleman »

normalthings wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 8:47 pm
Isn't the building proposed near the tower over what is today asphalt? How does setting the building back from the clocktower improve things from a bulldozing = climate waste perspective? As is, it maximizes new construction over driveway & parking lot.
Just because a tower is pushed back from the street doesn’t mean there’s not a base at the the lower levels. That’s an architectural setback and lots of buildings have them

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Midtownkid
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Re: Katz on Main

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Yes, sounds like Fang and LastGentlemen are understanding my point of view. Hell, if that space south of the tower is a restaurant on the ground floor, why not set that back 10 or 15 feet from the sidewalk. You could get a nice outdoor patio there along Main, protected a bit from traffic.

I think the new 'tower' behind the clock tower is a clunky element. I've shown my suggestion for improvement here.

The larger discussion about preserving certain buildings on Main and the old colonnades and single-family neighborhoods in Midtown was a separate thought, prompted by David's 'encased in amber' comment.

I think we can improve our city with density. I just think we need to be smart about how it is done and where. Thankfully we do have historic districts and historic landmarks so development-hungry people can't destroy all of it.

Fang's suggestions on areas where we can really improve Main are great. Build 15-20 story buildings on those lots, I think that would be great. Just give us retail space on the ground floor and hide the damn parking garages.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Chris Stritzel »

normalthings wrote:
Tue Jan 05, 2021 1:33 pm
Image

Architect just posted what appears to be this older rendering.
Sounds like the idea people want is this version of the project, but beyond the old Kats Building itself, the new addition would suck because of the exposed garage and no street level activation.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by FangKC »

There are many old colonnade buildings that are really the middle density we want. They have 6-12 apartments in a 3-story building on a parcel the size that many single family homes sit on.

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.0499202 ... !1e3?hl=en

https://www.google.com/maps/@39.0492628 ... 8192?hl=en
Last edited by FangKC on Thu Mar 11, 2021 10:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by TheLastGentleman »

Chris Stritzel wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:55 pm
Sounds like the idea people want is this version of the project, but beyond the old Kats Building itself, the new addition would suck because of the exposed garage and no street level activation.
Looks like the historic building would have street level activity in this plan. I’m also not sure why design features such as the exposed garage would be dependent in any way on the new construction’s relationship to the tower. I would certainly hope the architects can give the tower breathing room while still making the new building urbanistic.

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Re: Katz on Main

Post by Chris Stritzel »

TheLastGentleman wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 10:10 pm
Chris Stritzel wrote:
Thu Mar 11, 2021 9:55 pm
Sounds like the idea people want is this version of the project, but beyond the old Kats Building itself, the new addition would suck because of the exposed garage and no street level activation.
Looks like the historic building would have street level activity in this plan. I’m also not sure why design features such as the exposed garage would be dependent in any way on the new construction’s relationship to the tower. I would certainly hope the architects can give the tower breathing room while still making the new building urbanistic.
Yes, the historic building would have an activated street level, but the new addition seems blank at the bottom. In the plans people are debating, the first floor there has apartments along it (based on elevations), so that's better than just parking.

I don't mind the ideas of setting the new building back from the clocktower, it just has to be done right to not look cheap.

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