Children’s Mercy Research Tower will change Kansas City’s skyline

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Plan commissioners unanimously approved a proposal Tuesday to build a 9-story research tower on the Children's Mercy Hospital campus.

The project, at 23rd and Locust streets, is expected to make an impressive addition to the skyline of the city.

This tower would be built on top of an existing parking garage that's already four stories above the ground. The new structure would become one of tallest buildings on Hospital Hill, rising about 13 stories high.

"It's a great design," said Babette Macy, chair of the plan commission. "We look forward to it."

Plan commissioners viewed a rendering of the research tower, which would have a shimmering glass curtain facade.

City planners say that's by design because the hospital wants to make a statement with the new building.

"That will be an impressive statement," said Plan Commissioner Coby Crowl. "When I first opened my docket and saw it, I thought, 'Oh my God, that’s impressive.' I’m excited to see that come together."

Last month, voters approved giving up half an acre of city parkland, which the hospital now is expected to purchase to move forward with the research tower construction.

The plan also would make East 23rd Street into a one-way, westbound only thoroughfare, with angle parking alongside the tower, which will be home to the Children's Research Institute.

Construction will be funded in part by more than $125 million in bonds from Missouri's Health and Educational Facilities Authority.

A Children's Mercy representative declined to comment, but the hospital says it will release more details early next year.