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Redeveloping the Kansas City Workhouse Castle: renderings + plans

Juxtaposed picture of castle and rendering

Photos by KCtoday, KEM Studio and UrbanAmerica

Table of Contents

What does it take to rebuild a castle? Just under $20 million. Developers have unveiled renderings and an outline for the Kansas City Workhouse Castle — an abandoned historic building at 21st Street + Vine Street.

The Workhouse sits behind a chain link fence after 50 years of neglect. Other than an art gallery, the remaining block north of 21st Street is vacant.

Development + investment company UrbanAmerica owns most of this block with local businessman Vewiser Dixon.

The castle

UrbanAmerica’s plan proposes preserving the castle as an event, retail, and open community space — utilizing 18,700 sqft. Renderings suggest rooftop amenities with views of downtown.

“The castle is one of the top tourist attractions in Kansas City [...] What we’re doing is we’re preserving the old, but we’re making sure we’re introducing the new,” — Robert Farmer, with UrbanAmerica, said.

The hotel

A 60-room boutique hotel will be attached to the south side of the castle. Developers expect this addition could serve as onsite lodging as well as hosting weddings + corporate events itself.


On the hill to the east of the castle, UrbanAmerica looks to build ~60 net-zero houses — equipped with energy efficient systems + solar panels. The community would be called The Viewsand check out that view.

The rest of the plan

Picture of satellite map of the area

The EVE site looks to tap into nearby neighborhoods + proximity to hospitals and education centers. | Photo via UrbanAmerica

This is just phase one of a larger plan dubbed Enterprise Village Ecosystem. EVE would create a tech-friendly villagecomplete with an educational campus — on what is mostly vacant land in the Wendell Phillips neighborhood.

“We’ve spent a lot of time and capital on this project,” Robert said. “That’s what we do [...] We redevelop the underserved communities in America.”

Developers will go to the City Planning Commission next for the right to build + they hope to begin work this year.