By Kevin Collison
Bar + Rec, the first tenant announced for the ongoing redevelopment of the old Kansas City Star building, has a year-old pile of sand and months of work ahead before its planned opening at year’s end.
Partners Mark Musselman and Luke Wade continue to push forward with their ambitious plan to create a a lively downtown recreation hub featuring three, outdoor sand volleyball courts and plenty of room for indoor drinking and games.
“We want to give people new experiences,” Musselman said on a recent tour. “We have a long list of events we want to dive into.
“It’s important for people to know it’s a bar, not a sand volleyball bar. The volleyball will be unique, it will help us stand out with the backdrop skyline.”
He gestured toward the dramatic downtown view beyond the tarp-covered mounds of sand on the parking lot delivered a year ago.
It’s been slower going than anticipated, but work is now well underway gutting the 8,000 square feet of space inside the building where the bar will be located. Musselman said the partners hope to open in January 2020, perhaps earlier.
Bar + Rec will be located at the northeast corner of the old Star building near 17th and McGee. A new main entrance to the establishment will be created off McGee Street.
The outdoor plan calls for the three volleyball courts and a turf area 120 feet long and 30 feet wide for games, fire pits and a beer garden.
The former loading dock doors on the north side of the building are being replaced to so he indoor bar can open to the outside space.
Inside, a 38-seat center bar is planned and the spacious surroundings, big enough to accommodate up to 424 people, will include more games including shuffleboard, darts, skee-ball and Ping Pong.
Musselman said the design will be “vintage sports bar.”
“We want to keep as much of the industrial nature to the space as possible and incorporate the history of The Star,” he said.
“We wanted to design it in a socially interactive way. It will be broken up so it still feels active on a February night when there’s not many people here.”
Decorative elements will include original renderings of Kauffman Field and Arrowhead Stadium, old photos of Royals great George Brett and memorabilia from old teams including the Kansas City Monarchs.
Both owners have a strong sports connection.
Musselman was general manager at Arrowhead before taking on the Bar + Rec endeavor and before that, was manager for the Power & Light District. Wade is the founder of KC Crew, an amateur sports organization.
Plans call for plenty of events including live music on First Fridays. Hours will be 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
The architect is Generator Studio and the contractor is Axis Construction.
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