February 17, 2018

Kansas City’s New Library Anchors Downtown Rebirth

By LJ Staff

Kansas City’s new Central Library opened to the public on April 12. The official grand opening celebration will come later this spring. The $50.2 million renovated First National Bank building, graced by columns, chandeliers, and marble floors, at 190,000 square feet is one-third larger than the previous facility. The library now will stock more than 300,000 books on its shelves, twice as many as before. Correspondingly, operation and leasing costs will be much higher, but are expected to be handled by increased efficiencies.

Situated downtown, the library also has a $10 million, 500-space parking facility. Since the plan was announced in 1999, the project has served as a catalyst for the area, as developers have transformed empty office buildings into apartments. Local philanthropists contributed about half of the building’s cost, along with state and federal tax credits.