Vacant for a decade, downtown building set to open as KC’s first Hotel Indigo

Kansas City Business Journal - Original Article
November 13, 2017


The pigeon droppings have been removed, and the three stories of terra cotta exterior ornamentation, long hidden and crumbling behind an ugly masonry veneer, are nearing restoration to their original 1930s glory.  Now, the Brookfield Building, a historic 12-story tower at 101 W 11th St. in Kansas City, is poised to open as Hotel Indigo topped by three  floors of apartments.

Vacant for more than a decade and substantially vacant for more than 20 years, the building is set to reopen Dec. 15 as a 118-room Hotel Indigo and the 27-unit Fairfax Lofts.  According to Kerri McNeil, director of sales and marketing for the new downtown hotel, it will be the first Hotel Indigo in Kansas City and the 50th in the United States.

Dustin Weber, general manager for the new hotel, said it will be separated from the Fairfax Lofts, which will have a private entrance on the Baltimore Avenue side of the building and a fitness center in the basement.  The Hotel Indigo will have its main entrance on 11th Street, and its fitness center will be located on the second floor, which will also offer hotel guests the use of 1,100 square feet of board room and meeting space.

Fairfax Lofts residents, however, will be able to take advantage of the hotel's room service and, for a fee, its housekeeping service, McNeil said.

Base monthly apartment rents will range from $1,100 for a 480-square-foot, one-bedroom unit to $2,100 for a 1,080-square-foot, two-bedroom unit, while room rents in the new Hotel Indigo will range from $209 to $249 a night.

The $33 million hotel-apartment project is being developed by Brookfield Hotel Redevelopment Corp., a Madison, Wis.-based partnership that came to the historic building's rescue in 2015.

Opened in 1930 as the Fairfax Building, the structure was renamed for Unitog Co. founder Arthur Brookfield after Unitog bought the building in 1975.

California resident Richard Turner, a co-developer of The View condominium project in Kansas City, bought the Brookfield Building in 2004, by which time it was largely vacant.

The few remaining tenants subsequently were chased away by a fire in a ground-floor sushi restaurant and flooding from a broken water line, and things got worse from there.

Filled with mold and pigeon droppings, the structure made the city's dangerous building list in 2012, when pieces of terra cotta fell from its upper reaches, causing officials to barricade sidewalks in the area.

Brookfield Hotel Redevelopment Corp., led by John Kothe of Madison-based Kothe Real Estate Partners, put the Brookfield Building under contract three years later and closed on its $2.75 million purchase in June 2016.

With help from a local property tax abatement, brownfield tax credits, and state and federal historic tax credits, the developer and its Overland Park-based general contractor, Rau Construction, have since transformed the building into a unique hotel property.

Part of InterContinental Hotels Group, the boutique Hotel Indigo brand was launched in 2004 and includes a collection of one-of-a-kind hotels designed to reflect the neighborhoods they are set in.

According to Weber, Hotel Indigo Kansas City Downtown adopted a transportation design theme based on the fact that the building once housed a Santa Fe Railroad ticketing office and administrative offices of the Fairfax Municipal Airport in Kansas City, Kan. The theme will be carried out via enlarged reproductions on guest room walls of travel-related postcards and postmarks, including a 1929 Fairfax airport postmark. In addition, each hotel floor will include a different mural, including a train mural planned for the ground floor. And the bar in the hotel's restaurant has been designed to resemble the old Santa Fe ticketing counter that used to be housed in the building.

The restaurant, Dott Boss Cocktails & Coffee House, was named after a female vocalist billed as "the friendliest entertainer in Kansas City" at the Gus' Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge, which was located at 1106 Baltimore Ave.

Dott Boss, which Hotel Indigo will own and operate, will focus on breakfast and lunch but also will offer dinner service, Weber said.  He said its menu will be highlighted by sandwiches, small plates and craft cocktails.

In addition to reflecting Downtown's past, Weber said, the new Hotel Indigo will include modern design features in its guests rooms, including leather headboards, wood-look floor and barn-door access to bathrooms.  As a nod to its setting on the fringe of Kansas City's Library District, he added, the hotel will include bookcase/desk combinations in its king rooms as well as a large bookcase in its lobby.

Pat Murfey, CCIMPat Murfey, CCIM specializes in Commercial Properties with Kansas City based real estate brokerage Evergreen Real Estate Services. Pat can be reached at 913-951-8402 or

Comments are closed.