By Alaina Webster
To celebrate the opening of its new 4,214 square foot flagship Kansas City branch (and to introduce current and potential customers to its newest ITM technology) in September Academy Bank took part in a long-standing Crossroads tradition: First Fridays.
Occurring on the first Friday of each month, the event brings together the district’s arts organizations, galleries, studios and other local businesses, many of which open their doors to thousands of residents and visitors. There is often live entertainment throughout the neighborhood, and attendees are able to frequent some of the many eating and drinking establishments that make their home here. For Academy, it seemed like the perfect venue to shine a spot-light on its sleek, modern new office.
The bank shares the space with a WeWork office, and there’s a cafe across a small courtyard on the building’s east side that serves brews from local coffee brand The Roasterie. The “Pitch Room,” a small meeting space the bank shares with WeWork, contains a colorful assortment of low, comfortable tables and chairs, but also contains a foosball table. There’s a more traditional conference room near the branch’s main entrance, and the third floor is home to a large gathering area that leads out onto a rooftop terrace overlooking the Kansas City skyline. All of these features are available for use by the community, said Academy President and CEO Paul Holewinski.
“The vision for this location was to become a community asset for the Crossroads,” Holewinski said. “We want businesses, not for profits, individuals to come see us, to leverage what we have here and hopefully make their lives better or their ability to host seamless meetings, to truly think of us as a community asset.
“If somewhere down the road they have a reason to call us about a product or service, then great,” he continued. “But really the vision of our location is as a community asset.” The Kansas City community is built into the building itself as well, Holewinski shared. The bank very consciously did its best to partner with local vendors and suppliers when designing the space, and the city’s distinctive skyline is depicted on sliding wooden panels that can be moved across the bank’s south windows to allow more or less light in as the day progresses.
Academy also forged a new partnership with regional arts council ArtsKC, joining the council’s “Now Showing” program. The branch will display rotating works by local artists throughout the year. Artwork will be prominently displayed in the bank’s community spaces. A display in the bank’s main lobby also highlights a local Crossroads business of the week.