Editors note: The lede to this story is somewhat hyperbolic. City officials stressed that the blast zone will be roughly 2,000 feet, which equates to a little less than half a mile. The likelihood of the blast being felt or heard outside the 2,000-foot perimeter is slim.
By Michael Bushnell
On the morning of Sunday, June 24th, between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m., residents of Northeast will hear a large explosion, the earth will shake a little bit, and a large plume of dust and smoke will fill the air, signaling the end of the line for the hulking Park Place Hotel.
Located near Front Street and Universal in the Executive Park area of the East Bottoms, Park Place was built in stages between 1974 and 1978. The hotel was originally called the Breckenridge Inn at Executive Park. Upon the completion of its second phase, the hotel featured 328 guest rooms, upscale restaurant and banquet facilities, a health and tennis club and an indoor-outdoor swimming pool. At the time of completion, it was the 11th largest hotel in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
The hotel maintained its standing in the area through the late 1990s, but a series of ownership and name changes ultimately spelled doom for the once-upscale facility. It ultimately closed in 2013, becoming a magnet for crime activity. In November of 2016 a man believed to be a transient was found at the bottom of an elevator shaft of the abandoned hotel. Over the past 18 months, KCFD crews have responded to the address a number of times – most recently in March of 2018 when fire was discovered on the 5th or 6th floor of the South Tower.
The demolition is welcome news to business residents of the Executive Park area. Mark Felton with True North Real Estate – and outgoing President of the Northeast Industrial Association – expressed relief that the cancer on their business community would finally be relieved.
“Since the place went abandoned, It’s just been one problem after another with crime, petty theft and scrappers that holed up inside the place,” Felton said. “We’re indebted to City Manager Troy Schulte and KCPD Community Interaction Officer Jason Cooley for shepherding the process and finally getting it taken down.”
John Baccala, Communications/Community Liaison with the KCMO Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department, said that in-person visits by City staff will be accompanied by letters mailed to property owners and businesses in the area, notifying them of the demolition.
“We want to make sure everybody in the area is notified so that they can take preemptive action with their HVAC and air handling systems, given the amount of dust the implosion will create,” Baccala said.
The Sunday morning demolition will take place between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. Traffic on Interstate 435 will shut down at approximately 7:30 am between M-210 on the north and US-24 Highway (Independence Avenue) on the South. Front Street will remain open but Universal Avenue north of Front Street will also close to Traffic at 7:30 a.m.
Industrial Salvage and Wrecking, the company awarded the demolition contract, is coordinating all of the details of the demolition. That includes working with Controlled Demolition Incorporated (CDI), the company responsible for the actual implosion of the structure. CDI has been responsible for high-profile demolitions all over the world, including the Landmark Hotel in Las Vegas and the Kingdome, the former home of the Seattle Mariners, Seahawks, and Supersonics. Locally, CDI handled the last demolition event of this magnitude: when the Sears Catalog Warehouse at Truman Rd. and Cleveland Ave. was imploded on June 1, 1997.
Industrial Salvage and Wrecking will drill 2,200 holes in the hotel to aid the implosion. The company is currently making final preparations for the June 24 demolition.
“We’ve spent the last 30 days taking out walls and drilling holes for the implosion,” said Chuck Cacioppo, Principal at Industrial Salvage and Wrecking. “We’ve also been working closely with the city’s Dangerous Buildings Department, The Police Department, the Missouri Highway Patrol and MoDOT on all the road closures.”