Commerce Tower on Main, in Kansas City, Missouri, is redefining downtown apartment living by creating an energy-efficient, vertical neighborhood with luxury apartments, exclusive amenities, and a connected lifestyle. The building’s LEED Gold Certified community combines the best of traditional craftsmanship within a resort-style setting.
With 355 apartments, Commerce Tower on Main also features on-site restaurants, a pharmacy, outdoor kitchen, and an indoor dog park. Commerce Tower on Main is the place where technology and service come together to create a complete urban community.
Natalie Scott, Director of Operations for EPC Real Estate Group, explained that there are several key points of focus for renovating and upgrading the Commerce Tower. Originally built in the mid 1960s, Commerce Tower is a historic site requiring a great deal of care and planning to preserve the original character, while making room for modern upgrades.
“Once upon a time this building was 500,000 square feet of office space,” said Scott. “We basically came in, emptied it out, and turned it into apartments and about 150,000 square feet of commercial space. It was very important that the building’s new space be energy efficient, built with sustainable materials, and be as modern, safe and secure as possible.”
Adding security to the facility required products that were not only sustainable, but also worked with mixed-use residential facilities and provided the appropriate aesthetics for a historic retrofit. ASSA ABLOY – whose brands combine to provide over 100 Environmental Product Declarations and over 20 Declare labels for sustainable construction – was able to help Commerce Tower meet these needs with its offerings in access control, locks, doors, frame, exit devices and power supplies.
“Providing solutions that work with every single need is key to our shared success with our clients,” said Cliff Smith, Integrated Solutions Specialist at ASSA ABLOY Door Security Solutions. “We love when we get to partner together on projects that require multiple levels of specificity. The end goal is always to protect the people, places and assets involved. But protecting the planet and providing a high level of good design in the process is also a critical part of our efforts.”
Part of the modernization of Commerce Tower includes the use of keyless, wireless door locks for all apartment doors and residential access points.
To achieve this level of credentialing, management selected SARGENT IN120 WiFi mortise locks and doors and frames from Curries for all 355 apartments. The facility also implemented HID card readers on the perimeter of the facility, SARGENT electrified exit devices, Securitron Power Supplies, and Norton Power Operators.
A keyless, battery-powered door lock from SARGENT also served the purpose of both bringing in an exceptional level of modern convenience for residents, while also allowing for the lock installation without running any wiring or cabling through the historic walls of the building.
“This is basically a keyless community where residents use a mobile app for credentials to enter their apartments,” said Scott. “This is the first time that this type of community has come to downtown Kansas City. It’s an exciting feature and residents have embraced the technology and are enjoying the benefits.”
Utilizing the space as both commercial and residential also introduces a unique set of requirements for access control and security, as the building doesn’t behave simply as apartments nor does it operate only during commercial business hours. Further, the introduction of community amenities such as a gymnasium, swimming pool, sauna, and playground introduces yet another layer to the system’s complexity.
Add to that the fact that multi-family and multi-use buildings are door-dense environments. That means the management of hundreds of brass keys and mechanical locksets is an extremely cumbersome solution. It results in the risk of lost keys and the high cost and inconvenience of having to rekey locks. Mechanical key systems are difficult for property managers to effectively manage access for tenants, employees, visitors and contractors while ensuring that only those who are authorized can gain access.
“One of our priorities with mixed-use facilities is to find ways that simplify the system and minimizes touchpoints for staff that are managing the system,” Smith said. “This largely links back to the credentialing component. In many buildings today you see environments where they need to manage different parts of the building with different software and different credentials. But at the Commerce Tower they selected components that are interoperable with their chosen flavor of management software. This means their staff can manage the system more effectively and efficiently.”
Locks such as the IN120 offer advancements in technology that make it possible to deploy a secure, manageable, and cost-effective multi-family housing solution without the need for complex or expensive infrastructure. Further, the locks improve on the ability to manage access remotely, assist with lock outs, and provide temporary access to visitors or contractors.
A cornerstone tenant of ASSA ABLOY is to provide transparency in their products through detailed ingredient lists, Environmental Product Decelerations, Health Product Declarations, and Declare labels.
This effort matched the desire of Commerce Tower to redesign in a sustainable manner and meet its LEED Gold Certification.
“The LEED Gold Certification and the commitment to green building is one of our big claims to fame,” said Scott. “Focusing on sustainability, and really everything behind sustainability and what goes into it from green products to energy efficiency has been a huge part of the vision for what we wanted our story to be in downtown Kansas City.”
Scott said that her team sought out partners who would not only help them achieve compliance, but also be partners in their commitment. And, she said, ASSA ABLOY provided that match thanks to its sustainably built products and the ability for the solutions to help them reduce energy consumption.
“When you look at renovation from this angle, and consider that the best way to deal with old construction is to be transparent in your efforts to improve the building, then you know you want partners who believe in that transparency as well,” Scott said. “When you find the right people then you know, for certain, that everyone is willing to go the extra mile with you.”
Historic aesthetics and good design
Another critical element for Commerce Tower was to ensure that a visibly stunning look in the redesign matched with the historic remnants of the building’s past.
“We wanted to retrofit in the sense that things became very modernized, very sleek, very minimalistic,” Scott said. “But, at the same time there were several areas of the building that we had to revive, and we
couldn’t touch due to it being a historic preservation and restoration. We had to ensure that our design complemented those existing features.”
That desire was met by ASSA ABLOY’s commitment to good design principles that seek out ways to ensure that doors, openings and door accessories compliment and highlight the rest of the building. One of ASSA ABLOY’s beliefs is that the door handle is the most immediate point of contact for people in a building, and that by starting with excellent design at that point of contact you define the user experience.
“What we came away with is something beautiful,” Scott said. “The building speaks for itself.”
“Solutions for all of the many needs of a build are discovered by making sure we are partners in innovation with the end user, the integrators, and the architects and designers,” said Smith. “By listening to the building owner, thinking insightfully and thoughtfully about their intended use, then working with our partners and offering appropriate options, we get to find success across the multiple areas, and needs, of a building.”
ASSA ABLOY considers itself a partner in innovation with all of its clients, and seeks out ways to meet all types of needs for security, sustainability and design. It is these efforts that result in buildings like Commerce Tower leading the way in solutions for all types of uses and that meet all types of needs.
“We wanted Commerce Tower on Main to be a trend setter while respecting its history,” said Scott. “These technologies from ASSA ABLOY are enabling us to do just that.”
This article was written and originally published by Assa Abloy.
WSS Integrated Technologies is a proud partner of Assa Abloy.