What is the sky box at the top of Commerce Tower that overlooks downtown Kansas City?

·1 min read

For this installment of “What’s Your KCQ?,” the joint project of the Kansas City Public Library and The Star, the Missouri Valley Special Collections staff tackles this reader question:

What’s the small projection on the north side of Commerce Tower near the top of the building?

North side of Commerce Tower with projection near the top.
North side of Commerce Tower with projection near the top.

When Commerce Tower at 911 Main St. opened in 1964, one of the modern office building’s many amenities was the Top of the Tower restaurant on the 30th floor. Rather than a single dining experience, Top of the Tower offered diners five distinct experiences: the Mongolian-themed Genghis Khan, the Irish-themed Paddy’s Pub, the Italian-themed Guiseppe’s Roof, the German-themed Salzberg Haus, and the French-themed Tour d’Argent.

An advertisement from the building’s opening promised diners “an unparalleled view of Kansas City’s surging skyline and the countryside beyond,” and with the 180-degree view south toward the river made possible by the small projection, the statement rang true.

Interior of the Top of the Tower projection.
Interior of the Top of the Tower projection.

Top of the Tower closed in 1975. Ten years later, Commerce Trust Co. moved out of the building. Vacancies increased as downtown went into decline. Finally, in 2013, the property was acquired by an investment group that rehabilitated the structure into residential units for new city dwellers.

Today, the small projection on the 30th floor is part of an apartment inhabited by a very lucky someone with a spectacular view.

Have a question of your own? Email kcq@kcstar.com or visit kclibrary.org/kcq.

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