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Monthly Event Hosted at Katz
June 23 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
The Urban Core is excited to host our meeting this month at Katz (which will be the fourth Thursday instead of Wednesday)!
Everyone knows the Katz Drug name. A regional name synonymous with prescriptions and much more. While the Katz Brothers have been out of the picture for years, “their” building remains an icon at Westport Road and Main Street. A little history about who they are and where they started…
At the turn of the 20th century, Ukrainian immigrants Ike and Michael Katz started a fruit stand in the west bottoms. A lot of companies – Sutherland Lumber for one – started their operations down there. In 1914 they moved up on the bluffs overlooking the Mighty MO and opened two locations, one at 13th and McGee and 8th and Grand, selling confections and fruit. They gained notoriety during WWI selling cigarettes and not charging the war tax. This made their cigarettes cheaper than anyone around town.
In 1917 the government announced that if you wanted to remain open past 6pm you had to sell drugs. And that is how the Katz Brothers got into the true pharmacy business. As populations began to move Katz Bros did too.
In 1934 they hired famed KC Architect and cousin Clarence Kivitt to design an eye popper of a building at Westport and Main. At the time it was the largest drug store (20,000 sf) in the world with 29 cash registers and 300 parking spaces. Innovation seems to be common place with Kansas City entrepreneurs. This store became the template for one-stop shopping. You could even buy monkeys and pet alligators at one time.
When Skaggs Drug chain acquired Katz they had 65 stores in several states. In 2006 CVS closed the Osco store at Westport Road and Main Street and for almost 10 years it sat until Redeemer Fellowship bought it and turned it into an artist incubator. They closed it in 2019 due to escalating maintenance costs.
Now a St Louis firm, Lux Living, has proposed a 192 unit 34 million dollar multi-family complex that would attach to the back of the Katz facility. The drawings for the proposed reworking of the Katz bldg is stellar with a rooftop pool and restaurant.
We hope you can join us on Thursday, June 23rd for a peek at this historical property before it undergoes redevelopment.
Note: this is an active construction site so comfortable shoes / no open toes are recommended. We shall need all attendees to sign a waiver & hard hats will be provided for everyone.
Bring cash for our raffle of throwback Katz hats to benefit the UCG and the growth of our organization.
Parking Information for our meeting