Karbank Buildings Renovation Includes Three Performance Halls

A glorious new entertainment venue has sprouted in the unlikely setting of a pair of office buildings in Mission Woods.

Steven Karbank, chairman of Karbank Real Estate Company, is dedicating a significant portion of his newly renovated Karbank Buildings at 1900/2000 Shawnee Mission Parkway to space for public musical performances and cultural events.

Why? Karbank said that the family noted the dearth of small performance venues in the area and “thought it important to fill that void.” While the halls were under construction, they experimented with a few concerts and found the audiences to be highly enthusiastic about the location.

There are three halls, seating 75, 150 and 300, and designed to an acoustician’s, as well as to the architects’ (Rees Masilionis Turley) specifications. Angled walls and ceiling treatments maximize ideal sound movement and balance. The stages are modular and can be customized. Karbank recently purchased a 1913 Steinway piano, which rolls on its own movable platform. A freight elevator facilitates preparation and set up; a green room welcomes performers.

Already the venue has welcomed such leading names in music and dance as Bill Frisell, Ensemble Iberica, Behzod Abduraimov and Tango Lorca.

Planned to open in early 2017, an on-site restaurant, Cafe 1900, will round out the audience experience. Elegant and simple in design, it will be open daily and will be available to rent for functions.

The renovated buildings that house these new cultural offerings comprise a stunning new architectural showpiece. The three- and four-story structures, with a total square footage of 65,000 and 36,000, respectively, display energy-efficient glass all around, LED lighting on sensors, bike racks in the parking lots as well as showers for those cycling in to work, a penthouse and a roof deck. A snow-melt feature and natural gas microturbine generators are in place. Gold certification has been awarded by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Karbank built around the historic, signature “tulip” columns of the exterior; they now stand out among the ultra-contemporary design elements and are incorporated into beautiful courtyards, patios, gardens and wrap-around decks. The curved stone wall along 51st Street has been kept. Fountains grace the terrace and glow in different colors.
A half-dozen different types of bamboo take the lead in the lush landscaping, but share the spotlight with seasonally-changing flower beds of tulips, hydrangeas and mums.

The interior renovation evidences the same sensitivity to historical preservation as the exterior, retaining the original travertine walls, adding new walnut and oak floors, and incorporating an elegant spiral staircase patterned after the original.

It was in March 1950 that Karbank’s father opened the Barney A. Karbank Realty Company; he worked there till his death in 2005. The 2000 address building is called, affectionately, “The Barney Building.” The sense of family attachment continues in the 150-seat venue named “Rose Hall,” for Steve’s mother, Rose.

The Karbank family has long been involved in the area music scene, with strong connections to Harriman-Jewell, the Friends of Chamber Music, the International Center for Music at Park University and the KC Symphony. Their music interests are expansive, including classical, world music, jazz and bluegrass, and they’re committed to bringing this wide range to the Kansas City market. The only requirement is the high quality of the performer.

Audiences and artists alike are very receptive to these plans. Beau Bledsoe states, “Steve has filled a much needed void of both a small- and medium-sized concert venue in the Kansas City area,” says guitarist Beau Bledsoe. “He’s truly an aficionado of great music, and this passion comes through at every performance he presents.” — Rebecca Smith

Karbank Performance Schedule
Aug. 29 – Flamenco Mia with Beau Bledsoe
Sept. 24 – David Radzynski
Oct. 8 – Plamena Mangova
Oct. 21 – Danish String Quartet
Nov. 3 – Behzod Abduraimov
Dec. 4 – Victoria Botero Ensemble
Dec. 11 – KC Chorale
Feb. 11 – Shmuel Ashkenasi and Meng-Chieh Liu
Feb. 25 – Morgenstern Trio
March 3 – Abel Pereira
April 21 – Anton Barachovsky

For more information and schedules, go to 1900bldg.com

Rebecca Smith

Rebecca Smith is an impassioned supporter of local performances of all types, who welcomes the  opportunity to promote them to KC Studio readers.

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