|City/Town: • Topeka
|Location Class: • Hotel/Motel
|Built: • 1969 | Abandoned: • 2005
|Status: • Abandoned • Gutted
|Photojournalist: • Emily Cowan
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Holiday Inn City Centre
In 1969, an eight-story, 207 room hotel called the Holiday Inn City Centre was built in the heart of downtown Topeka. The hotel was equipped with a banquet hall, restaurant, cocktail bar, business center, and suites. Amenities included free continental breakfast, plenty of on-site parking, and great guest service. They also offer on-site guest laundry facilities, a game room, an outdoor swimming pool, cable TV with HBO & Showtime, and a lounge for you to relax. The business center could accommodate up to 300 people for conventions or events. All of these perks plus the location generated great clientele.
In 1987, the Holiday Inn made newspaper headlines when a maid went to clean a room around 1:20 p.m. and found the lifeless body of 68-year-old John R. Stacy. An autopsy reported that the cause of death was suffocation and his death was being investigated as a homicide. A couple that was seen with Stacy at the hotel were tracked to Missouri and officials said robbery was a possible motive.
The change in ownership and name came in the late 1990s or early 2000s when it then became Capital Center Inn/Red Carpet Inn & Suites.
Capital Center Inn/Red Carpet Inn & Suites
The hotel still well known went by Capital Center Inn and Red Carpet Inn& Suites both used interchangeably. But a few short years later on June 17, 2005, the cocktail lounge on the eighth floor fell victim to an arson fire. All patrons were evacuated safely but ultimately led to the closure of the hotel fully. It sat abandoned for many years and continued to suffer at the hands of vandalism and break-ins causing the entire building to be gutted.
An eight-man crew with Mcpherson Wrecking Inc. started work in February 2011 to gut the hotel due to the ongoing break-ins and vandalism. On average it took about two weeks to gut one floor putting the project at a timeline of around 16-18 weeks to complete. Mcpherson usually sells scrap metal that they remove from structures but the Capital Center Inn had already had most of its copper stripped by thieves, even stripping the elevator shaft. Further evidence showed homeless activity but despite being abandoned for 6 years at the time Mcpherson said the structure appeared to be in pretty fair condition. It is unclear if this assessment is still to be true now that it has been abandoned for 15 years and is starting to lose stucco from the top floors.
In recent years the City of Topeka has entered into a battle for backed taxes on the building. The owner had typically been respectful about catching up on payments and bringing things up to code when brought to his attention. But has since fallen behind on three years worth of property taxes, fines, and maintenance done on the property totaling a bill of $102,059. Over the last eight years, the property has accumulated over forty violations including landscaping, graffiti, and safety violations.
“To mow the property ranges from $250 to $350 and the same for sanitation depending on the amount of debris that we had to pick up and after the first violation of the year and an administrative penalty that starts out at $100 which is just part of the fine increased to $200 if we have to do it more than once.” said one person. The property is currently valued at around $690,000 decreasing with each passing year, the future of it is uncertain.
As of October 2021 the former luxury hotel was sold in a public auction for $54,100 to two best friends Makayla Girodat and Renee Stevens. The Topeka locals had driven around town looking at abandoned buildings wishing they could help renovate a piece of history. They finally got the chance when the former Capital Center Inn hotel went up for sale after accumulating hundreds of thousands of dollars in backed taxes. It was purchased under a newly created entity called La Femme Legacies, LLC, they then created the website 914madison.com to garner public input on plans for the building.
Gallery Below of Capital Center Inn
Chilson, Morgan. “#TopCity What: Former Red Carpet Inn Faces Uncertain Future.” The Topeka Capital-Journal, The Topeka Capital-Journal, 1 Oct. 2018, www.cjonline.com/news/20180930/topcity-what-former-red-carpet-inn-faces-uncertain-future.
Jones, Corey. “Vacant Hotel near Downtown Being Gutted.” The Topeka Capital-Journal, The Topeka Capital-Journal, 21 Apr. 2011, www.cjonline.com/article/20110421/NEWS/304219753.
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