If Walls Could Talk

It’s no secret that we love old buildings. So when our design team was presented with fifteen stories of ornate details, unparalleled views, and some of the richest history in downtown Kansas City, we were beyond excited.  As we’ve learned, every renovation provides a chance to not only breathe new life into a space, but connect people to its history and uncover some pretty amazing stories along the way. The Baltimore Club Renovation was no exception.

Built in 1920, the 15-story building was originally created as the home of the Kansas City Club, a private gentlemen’s club established in 1882. The building was designed by local architect, Charles A. Smith, and included a large dining room, several bars, meeting rooms, a banquet hall, athletic facilities, an indoor pool, and a rooftop terrace. Situated on the floors between these amenities were six stories of guestrooms, which have now been converted into rentable lofts. The building remained the Kansas City Club’s clubhouse until 2001 when it merged with the University Club and moved to a nearby downtown building.

Notable members of the Kansas City Club have included Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower, General Omar Bradley, and political boss Tom Pendergast.

Appearing on the National Register of Historic Places, the original 1920s structure  is a stunning example of elaborate, gothic Tudor detailing and old-world craftsmanship. The building features a limestone and brick exterior with terracotta detailing, while the interior showcases the original hand-hewn walnut, carved stone, and ornate plaster.

When the Helix design team was tasked with reinvigorating 40,000 square feet of event space, we knew we had to pay homage to the building’s history, while bringing the space up to modern, functional standards. Helix designed the project in accordance with preservation guidelines and received both state and federal historic tax credits.

Renovation of  the luxury event spaces on the 1st-6th floors, included restoration and updates to the original Lobby, Press Room, Tudor Room, Walnut Room, and Library. The project also included the complete renovation of the 15th floor, which had been converted to apartments in 2002, and the addition of an outdoor terrace that offers 180-degree views in downtown Kansas City. Operable glass walls between the terrace and the interior provide a remarkable indoor-outdoor experience. A key design feature within the space is a custom-designed trellis ceiling, made from painted, 3/16” aluminum – reminiscent of the original ceiling design.

The 15th floor event space was once an open roof garden and terrace, and was referred to as “Just the place for a cooling drink in tinkling glasses.” As members of the Kansas City Club were quoted saying, “the stars will be at our fingertips.”

The Helix team has been thrilled to work with the Baltimore Club, transforming this historic landmark into a new-era event space.  We look forward to continuing to watch the history of the building become enriched by those who experience it. Cheers!

For more information, including renovation progress photos, historic images, and event space inquiries, follow The Baltimore Club on Facebook and Instagram.