The New England Building, constructed in 1886, is located in the heart of Downtown Kansas City’s Library District just a few steps from the Streetcar. Within this gracious structure, seven floors are being renovated into 32 distinctive apartments. Unit features include designer flooring, stone counter tops, slate appliances, tile showers, nest thermostats, walk-in closets and washer/dryers. In addition, several of the apartments are adorned with cast iron fireplace mantels, bankers vaults and an oriel window.
The New England’s amenities consist of a modern fitness center located within the building’s central vault, the Howard Hughes Lounge, the North View Nooks, grand marble hallways, attached garage parking, resident storage and Google Fiber. This Landmark Property is a tangible reminder of the substantial investments of eastern capital made in Kansas City during the late nineteenth-century building boom.
Once home to Trans World Airlines, it is a rare surviving example of commercial architecture adapted from the Renaissance Revival style. The south and west exterior walls of the New England are constructed of rose colored Springfield sandstone shipped from Massachusetts. A two-story oriel window at the southwest corner of the building has carved stone panels at its base that bear the seals of five New England States.
The building is richly ornamented with carved stone moldings, brackets, balustrades, pilaster, capitals and panels used as spandrels and door frames. Renaissance motifs such as swags, wreaths, rope molds, urns, cherubs and formalized plant forms predominate throughout the interior and exterior.
A monumental stairway with iron supports and marble treads is located in the residential lobby. The balustrade is cast iron with ornamental inserts, a cherry wood railing, and brass finials. More than fifty coal burning fireplaces were used to heat the original rooms. Most of these fireplaces remain but they are no longer functional. Each has a different ornamental design in the cast iron mantel, and the color of the facing tile varies from room to room.
The fireplaces were manufactured by Smith and Anthony Stove Company in Boston Massachusetts. Stylistically the New England has no real equivalent in Kansas City. Its architectural design ties it to the roots of tradition and provides possibly the earliest example of fire-proof construction in Kansas City.