Situated in a historic area of Kansas City, this building was built in 1917 and recently restored and turned into condominiums. The new owners demanded modern amenities and safety features, and its designers delivered an addressable control panel, a remote annunciator, and intelligent power supplies that let the user determine exactly which device has been activated or needs attention.

 “If these walls could talk ...” It’s an old expression that’s particularly apt for the new Crestwood Condominiums building in Kansas City. This landmark of the city’s historic Country Club District has a long, storied, and varied history.

Originally built in 1917 and designed by John McKenknie, one of Kansas City’s most prolific architects, the Crestwood was originally known as the Brookside Hotel and Apartments. Over the years, the building’s function and level of upkeep has oscillated.

It has served as temporary housing for military personnel in World War II, as a dorm for the St. Paul School of Theology, as University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Treadway Hall, and as a home away from home for flight attendants. Most recently, it sat vacant and in a sad state of disrepair.

The Rebirth

But this past year, the once proud building’s dignity was restored by developers Ralph Myers, Jr. and Frederick Truog with the help of a team of investors, designers, architects, distributors, and vendors. Today, the building has been reborn as Crestwood Condominiums, with the interior completely gutted, but its classic character intact. The reborn building also features a wealth of modern amenities and safety features.

Ironically, thanks to one of the building’s most technologically advanced new features, the walls of the new Crestwood Condominiums can, in a sense, “talk.” The building communicates any and all smoke and fire danger to building management, residents, and the fire department through a Silent Knight life safety system.

Part of the Honeywell Life Safety group, Silent Knight provides industry-wide compatible fire alarm solutions for small and mid-size institutions and commercial sites. Crestwood’s Silent Knight solution includes one Farenhyt IFP-1000 addressable control panel located in the main office and one RA-1000 remote annunicator located in the building’s main lobby. It also includes several RPS-1000 intelligent power supplies.

Emergency Direction

Crestwood’s fire system uses 139 addressable points, with the option of expanding to 1,016 points, that let the user determine exactly which device has been activated or needs attention. It also uses distributed power supplies, enabling power sources to be located near evacuation areas, rather than having to institute a complex wiring system. Other advanced system features include an enhanced user interface and programmed output groups for elevator and elevator curtains.

“During an alarm situation, the panel tells us exactly where in the building the problem is taking place,” Shippy said. The system triggers doors that automatically drop down in front of the elevators, blocking their use. Residents are directed to the closest stairway and then to the nearest exit or safe area.”

The power supply also offers a high degree of flexibility, thanks to its Flexput™ circuit feature. With Flexput, an installer has the option of establishing each of the panel’s six circuits as either an input or an output, which gives the installer more installation flexibility, accounting for whether they need more conventional smoke detector input or more auxiliary power or notification output.

Service Electric (Blue Springs, MO) acted as both the installer and low-voltage and fire safety supplier for Crestwood Condominiums. Service Electric project manager Shawn Greys said his installers found the products easy to work with and that they were a natural fit for the Crestwood job.

“One of the reasons the system is well-suited for buildings like Crestwood is the way all the different remote power supplies are connected via an S-bus and easily programmable from a central control panel. Each remote power supply has enough power to cover a given floor making it a very well-engineered system in this regard,” Greys said.

‘A Perfect Match'

Building manager Donna Shippy is extremely proud of her building, both inside and out. “It’s a handsome building,” she said, “one that perfectly suits this historic neighborhood with its gothic design and brick elements. And the Silent Knight system is a perfect match for the building.”

Shippy added that she and all the people who live at Crestwood feel very safe knowing the building is protected by the system. “It covers every one of our current 38 units, as well as all the hallways and common areas,” she said. “The whole building is protected - I feel like it’s my guardian angel.”ES