The building on 925 Grand Boulevard was constructed in 1921 as the home of the new Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. It was one of twelve Federal Reserve banks established around the country as part of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act, which created a central bank system. The building housed the bank until 2008 when it moved to a new headquarters in Penn Valley Park. It has remained vacant since then, but is currently in the process of being converted into a hotel complex. The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2007.
In 1913 President
Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Federal Reserve Act. It called for the
creation of a decentralized national bank in order to safeguard the economy
from financial distress and limit the power of private banks. Under the law,
twelve separate districts were established around the country, each with its
own Federal Reserve Bank. Kansas City was chosen to be the home of the bank for
district 10-J, which included Kansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, and parts of
New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Missouri. The city’s strong growth in the 1910s,
economic influence, and good transportation network made it an ideal location. The
Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City opened in 1914. For its first seven years
the bank was housed in the R. A. Long Building while plans were made for a
A site for the new bank
building was chosen at 925 Grand Boulevard, and construction began in 1920. The
bank was built by the George A. Fuller Company and designed in the Classical
Revival style by the popular Chicago architectural firm Graham Anderson Probst
and White. The 21-story structure was built with reinforced steel clad in a
limestone exterior. The exterior features several examples of ornamentation at
the base and cap; the most notable of these are two stone panels of the west
side of the base with depictions of the Spirits of Industry and Commerce. Construction
was completed and the Federal Reserve Bank relocated to the building in 1921.
It was the tallest building in Missouri until 1926.
When it originally
opened the Federal Reserve Building contained a three-story lobby, an employees’
café, lounges, a gymnasium, auditorium, medical and dental offices, four
bowling alleys, high ceilings for natural lighting, and eight spare floors
rented as commercial space. It also featured a large underground vault with six
and a half feet thick walls and a 50-ton door. Over the years the building
underwent multiple updates and renovations to modernize it; in the 1930s it
became the first completely air conditioned office building in Kansas City. In
1965 a four-story annex was built to the east of the building to house a parking
garage and an expanded underground vault. For four years Harry Truman had a
post-presidential office in Room 1107, until the Harry S. Truman Presidential
Library and Museum was completed in 1957.
In 2008 the Federal
Reserve Bank of Kansas moved out of the building and into a new headquarters in
Penn Valley Park. Since then the building on 925 Grand Boulevard has remained vacant.
The building was purchased by Townsend Inc., which originally sought to
redevelop it into luxury condos. After the Great Recession hit, the company modified
its plans and decided to turn the building into a hotel instead. The plans
never advanced, and in 2013 Townsend lost ownership of the building over issues
with its lenders. It was then acquired by Colorado developer Delta Quad
Holdings LLC. The developer plans on converting the Federal Reserve building
into an Embassy Suites hotel, while keeping some of the structure’s historic
features. Commencement of the project has been delayed several times due to
trouble obtaining financing from lenders. Currently, the renovations are
expected to be completed in 2020 at a cost of more than $100 million.