By Kevin Collison
A Little Rock hotel developer has bought the historic Ozark building at Ninth and Grand and plans to ultimately redevelop it as a 240-room AC Hotels by Marriott at some point in the post-pandemic future.
Beechwood Pinnacle Hotels purchased the buildings at 906-910 Grand and a nearby parking lot at 710 Walnut about a year ago and had been moving forward with its hotel plan before the Covid-19 pandemic shook up the hospitality industry.
Rocky Govind, Pinnacle director of construction and asset manager, said his firm plans to invest more than $60 million in redeveloping the buildings.
The 13-story building at 906 Grand opened in 1912 and was formerly known as the Rialto and then the Ozark National Life Building. The five-story building at 910 Grand opened in 1905.
For many years, the buildings had housed operations of UMB Bank.
The imposing gray-stone structure at 906 Grand, which became known as the Ozark, was described as having the “finest stonework of any building in Kansas City” in marketing materials done by Cushman & Wakefield.
And while listed as one of the few remaining historic redevelopment opportunities left in downtown, the two buildings are not on the National Register of Historic Places.
They are believed however, to be eligible for federal and state historic tax credits to help finance their revival.
Govind said his firm is a management and development firm as well as owners of about 20 hotels in Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and Oklahoma. The planned AC Hotels would be its first project in Missouri.
“We liked the appeal of Kansas City,” he said “The improvements downtown, the attractions between entertainment and convention business is a good mix, along with corporate and leisure.”
The planned AC Hotels would include meeting space, a restaurant and bar.
But as far as when the firm plans to proceed with the project, Govind said no decision has been made.
The proposed AC Hotels is close to other hotel ventures along Grand including the stalled renovation of the historic Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City into an Embassy Suites and the renovation of the Palace Clothing building at 12th and Grand as a Canopy by Hilton.
The Ambassador Hotel at 1111 Grand opened in 2012 and recently completed a $14.9 million addition in 2019.
There had been plans to renovate the historic Scarritt building at 818 Grand into a 193-room Wyndham Grand, but the developer recently decided to pivot to converting it to apartments instead.
Liam Dai contributed to this report
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