(UPDATE: Jan. 8, 2021. Canary opens today. Hours are Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 4-10 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 10 p.m. Closed Tuesday.)
By Kevin Collison
Canary, a new bistro and bar concept by the creators of Julep, will be the showpiece tenant of the newly-opened Netherland apartment and hotel building on Main Street.
“We love Midtown,” said Keely Edgington, who’s Julep cocktail bar has been a Westport hit for six years. “It’s the center of the city and the jumping off point to any direction.
“We always wanted to have a Main Street location and we just fell in love with the space. The fact a streetcar stop will be there is just the cherry on top.”
Architect Caleb Buland also is thrilled to have Canary as the anchor commercial tenant at his redevelopment of the historic Netherland. He’s also pleased he’s leased 50 apartments since opening in April.
“We’ve been pleasantly surprised to hit the halfway mark this month,” he said.
“We’re getting Class A tenants from the area. Our leasing people say people enjoy the Plaza and downtown views.”
The 10-story Netherland, a derelict, eyesore property on Main for many years, also has a small, 10- to 20 room boutique hotel that will be run by Clemons Property Management, the same firm that operates Southmoreland on the Plaza.
Buland and his firm, EXACT Architects, began renovating the Netherland and the Monarch Storage building next door into apartments about two years ago. The Netherland has about 110 units, the Monarch which will have a soft opening next month, 34.
The Monarch will feature large two-bedroom penthouses with a rooftop pool overlooking downtown.
The Netherland was completed in 1927 and the six-story Monarch, 3829 Main, in 1921. Both are part of a National Register of Historic Places district.
The entire redevelopment project cost about $34 million and was assisted by a 25-year property tax abatement from the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority.
Many of the Netherland apartments rent for under $1,000 per month, and Buland said at this point he expects to finish initial lease up of the lofts by mid summer but studios and one bedrooms will still be available.
The Netherland features a spacious rooftop bar with 360-degree views of downtown, the Country Club Plaza and Midtown.
The new Canary will manage both the rooftop bar and the restaurant and bar on the first floor.
Edgington will be co-owner and operations manager at Canary. Her husband Beau Williams will be co-owner and general manager.
She said the bar will specialize in classic cocktails with a different twist than Julep. The Canary will feature a flock of clear spirit drinks using vodka, gin and rum as opposed to the more whisky-oriented drinks at Julep.
As for the bistro.
“Our vision is American cuisine but with influences from all over the world,” she said. “We’ll use fresh, local ingredients when we can. It will be food that’s modern, but comfortable and not too fussy.”
The name, Edgington said, was inspired by the famous aviator and Kansas native Amelia Earhart. Canary was the name of her first airplane.
“We were thinking about Amelia Earhart and her travels,” she said.
We won’t have an aviation theme, but I love the idea of travel and adventure with a focus on a woman.”
Edgington said Julep, which has been closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, is expected to reopen at 50 percent capacity June 26. It also will feature a street café.
As for the streetcar extension on Main, the Kansas City Streetcar Authority is projecting completion by late 2024 or early 2025. All is contingent on the authority receiving $174 million in federal funding. Local funding already has been lined up.
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