Luxury in Your Apartment

Luxury in Your Apartment

New Kansas City homes offer best in security, plus convenience

Commerce Tower on Main, in Kansas City, Mo., 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. It 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, said 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,” Scott said. “We basically came in, emptied it out and turned it into apartments and about 150,000 square feet of commercial space. It was 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 was able to help Commerce Tower meet the challenges of environmental product declarations and provide labels for sustainable construction with its access control, locks, doors, frame, exit devices and power supplies.

“Providing solutions that work with every single need is critical 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.”

Access Control

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 Wi- Fi mortise locks and doors and frames from both Graham and Curries for all 355 apartments. The facility also implemented HID card readers on the perimeter of the facility, and SARGENT electrified exit devices, Securitron Power Supplies and Norton Power Operators.

A keyless, battery-powered door lock 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,” Scott said. “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.”

Mixed-use Solutions

Using 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. The introduction of community amenities such as a gym, swimming pool, sauna and playground introduces 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 lockouts and provide temporary access to visitors or contractors.


ASSA ABLOY provides 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,” Scott said. “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 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 modernized, sleek and minimalistic,” Scott said. “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.”

Everyone met this 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. A long-held belief 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.

“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,” Smith said. “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.”

Partners in innovation with all of its clients, ASSA ABLOY 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. Building officials wanted to be a trendsetter while respecting the history of the building.

“What we came away with is something beautiful,” Scott said. “The building speaks for itself.”

This article originally appeared in the February 2018 issue of Security Today.


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