Home2 Suites By Hilton Kansas City Downtown - 500 Grand is a multi-property area located at 5th and Grand in Kansas City's Old Town neighborhood, one of the city's most respected commercial districts. Built in 1927, the buildings housed a wide variety of retailers, barbers, tailors, and salons. But a closer look reveals a more unusual story.
The second floor of the building was home to the North Side Democrat Club, founded in 1928 by notorious Kansas City mobster Johnny Lazia. The overall goal of the club was to recruit local voters to support a particular Democratic electoral situation conceived by political boss Tom Pendergast.
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Lazia's history in Kansas City is a history of both crime and philanthropy. He made deals with Al Capone to establish Kansas City as a smuggling hub, and his involvement in the infamous Union Station massacre of 1933 is commonplace. But Lazia's witty smile and devotion to the neighborhood earned her the nickname "Brother Giovanni". After her murder in 1934, Lazia's funeral would be the largest ever held in Kansas City.
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In 1980 the North Side Democrat Club was dissolved and the 500 Grand building complex was purchased by Gooch Brake and Equipment Company. It was then cleared and abandoned until 2011, when we bought it with great ambition.
We purchased the four-building complex in partnership with Kansas City-based iCON Architecture and iCON Fabrication, which provide design and fabrication services to the commercial and residential sectors. The project will allow two long-standing independent companies to share their operations under one roof.
Despite decades of wear and tear, we have had the opportunity to restore the 500 Grand and the surrounding buildings to their former glory. Tin ceilings were rusting from frequent roof leaks, walls were knocked down by forklifts, and shop windows were ripped up and filled with bricks.
We relied on historical photographs to guide our restoration by adding new windows and showcases without compromising the character of the building. We rebuilt the building's original façade and refurbished the interior with amenities that complement the building's historic use.
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