In 2011, the Cosby Hotel building was on life support. Sitting abandoned and decayed on some of Kansas City’s most premier real estate, it was given a demolition date by city leaders. After an outpouring of support from the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the Historical Society of Kansas City, however, we knew it still had so much to give. We teamed up with local architect Lon Booher to purchase the Cosby Hotel building and restore its rich history.
Originally constructed in 1881, the building was a hospital for some of the city’s most prominent medical professionals, later attracting the city’s first female physician. Joseph Cosby, the building’s namesake, purchased the property in 1899 and converted it into a 60-room hotel. The hotel enjoyed widespread notoriety for its lavish amenities and was the first place Anheuser Busch delivered beer after prohibition ended in 1933.
In order to finance the project, we secured a 10-year property tax abatement as well as state and federal tax credits. Interior and exterior renovation costs totaled around $2.8 million as we worked to preserve as much of the building’s character as possible. Frank Lloyd Wright-designed windows as well as the original flooring were kept, and the ceilings were redesigned to look identical to the building’s 1800s-era style.
Now a multi-use building, the Cosby Hotel retains its place among the Kansas City skyline and is an attractive location for corporate offices, retailers and dining.