For more than two decades, the Midtown Kansas City Public Storage has met the storage needs of the Old Hyde Park Historic District and beyond.
But the Kansas City facility at 3440 Main Street, Kansas City MO 64111 has a unique facade that has largely gone unnoticed until a recent video appeared on social media: Our storage units are hidden by artificial homes and townhouses.
“Customers would come to the office all the time wanting to rent those apartments,” said Mark Weigum, a regional vice president for Public Storage.
When viewed from Main Street, the storage facility looks as you’d expect a clean, urban location to look. But when you turn the corner onto W. Armour Boulevard, instead of Public Storage Orange rollup doors there is what appears to be an apartment building.
Turn right again onto Baltimore Avenue and you see two-flats and townhouses on both sides of a leafy residential street, rather than the back of the storage warehouse on the right-hand side.
“The Hyde Park Homeowners Association wanted it to mimic the rest of the townhomes, and that's what they came up with," said Weigum, who previously served senior district manager for this region before assuming his current role.
The Tik Tok video spotlighting our Kansas City location disguised as residential buildings was posted by @laurenislosingit, and her video has garnered more than 1 million views and has been shared widely on social media.
Comments on the 30-second TikTok post run the gamut, as reactions on social media invariably do.
Many claim to have been inside or even rented a storage unit there and never noticed. Others drive by on their daily commute and were oblivious to the hidden storage units behind the authentic-looking townhomes.
Before its incarnation as a storage facility, the building held a variety of enterprises.
“Those glass windows you see in the video are the showroom windows from the car dealership,” confirms Weigum.
Even further back in time, Weigum says, it was the first meat-packing plant in Kansas City. In addition to processing meat, Armour and Company had been making soap from tallow, a meat by-product, since the late 1800s.
One of Armour’s chemists created Dial soap there in the mid-twentieth century, as you can see in the plaque on the historic building. The soap is widely considered the first antibacterial soap, and was advertised to prevent body odor around the clock—back when clocks had dials.
Public Storage has a track record of repurposing neglected buildings with unique histories rather than tearing them down.
For example, check out this Art Deco building in Los Angeles. Another gem in Los Angeles harkens back to Hollywood’s origins, where Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Cops filmed in Mack Sennett’s first studio.
Seattle is the setting for two transformations that preserve the history of a 1913 Ford Motor plant and the Fuller Paint Company building.