Flashcube’s luxury apartments keep tenants comfortable year-round



Residential real estate 


Kansas City, MO

Square footage


The customer

Constructed in 1974, the nine-story, 207,000 square foot Executive Plaza building epitomizes the late-modern architectural style. Due to its abstract reflective glass curtain wall, the building became known simply as “Flashcube.” This architecturally significant building earned a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and remains a centerpiece of Kansas City.  

In 2020, the building underwent an extensive renovation, transforming from a vacant and outdated office building into luxury apartments. Today, Flashcube is home to 184 apartments and nearly 18,000 square feet of premier co-working office space. Tenants enjoy state-of-the-art amenities, including an indoor soccer field, rock climbing wall, indoor basketball courts, and a resident lounge and game room. 

The challenge

Because Flashcube sat vacant for more than 15 years, the onsite chillers and boilers were prohibitively expensive to resurrect. The plans to convert the building from office space to multi-family residences required a complete demolition of the interior space. This transformation presented many different mechanical system options for the owners to consider. The building owner also needed individual metering at each apartment to empower tenants to control their individual energy consumption and expenses.  

The solution

With an eye towards innovation, sustainability, and cost control, Flashcube’s owners explored a more reliable and cost-effective heating and cooling system. An extensive third-party analysis compared the lifecycle cost of onsite chillers and boilers, district energy, a water source heat pump system, variable refrigerant system technology, and a residential split system. When accounting for the costs of installation, maintenance, energy, water, and capital replacement cycles, it was determined that district energy provided the best overall lifecycle cost.  

Lower costs, higher reliability 

By choosing Vicinity’s district energy network, Flashcube’s new owners saw a reduction in construction costs by removing the need for onsite heating and cooling generation equipment, reutilization of existing piping, reduced electrical infrastructure, and tenant metering solutions. While reducing ongoing operating costs, district energy helped boost reliability for tenants.   

A multipurpose solution 

District energy helps keep Flashcube’s tenants comfortable and safe year-round. Vicinity’s district chilled water connects with simple heat exchangers to tenant fan coils, which eliminates the need for complex, large chillers and cooling towers onsite. District steam is used for building heat, domestic water heating, and a snow melt system, eliminating the need for large onsite boilers and water heaters. 

Reducing and reusing resources 

Rather than being discarded as waste, the condensate from the steam generation is used to pre-heat Flashcube’s domestic hot water and is then recycled as grey water to supply the building’s toilets. By recovering the steam condensate to heat the domestic hot water supply and grey water system, this steam biproduct saves money, energy, and city water. 

Repurposing space for tenant needs 

Another advantage of forgoing onsite chillers and boilers is new usable building space. By designing its heating and cooling needs around district energy, the owners of Flashcube have additional room for unique tenant amenities—all while leveraging an energy source that is driving carbon reductions. In fact, the mechanical and backup house space in the basement is now an inviting office space for tenants to access.  



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Lifecycle cost savings

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