Economic and Community Development
Road Reports - Built to Last
Road Reports – Part 1
I’ve been burning up the airports and highways over the past month visiting multiple ACCE member chambers across several states. I never fail to take away valuable tidbits and lessons from every visit. The first installment of this series comes from Kansas City:
Built to Last
Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza is a case study in the sustained economic viability of well-designed, well-positioned mixed used urban development. The planned, open air, retail-dining-hotel-residential project opened in 1922 but looks and feels as vibrant as the newest high end entertainment district in the country. The 15 block district was packed with shoppers and diners when I visited on a Wednesday in April. Many suburban strip malls are still suffering high vacancy rates, but the Plaza is evidence that with insightful planning, quality management and attention to trends, a retail space can weather many storms.
Lest you think KC is resting on its urban development laurels, during my visit I also saw the new 285,000 square foot glass-enclosed Kauffman Performing Arts Center home to resident organizations, the Kansas City Ballet, Lyric Opera, and Symphony. The Center is positioned to bridge downtown with the hotels and corporate offices in midtown at Crown Center – home of Hallmark’s world headquarters.
Downtown, the 8 block, Cordish developed Power and Light District, which opened in 2008, has become a destination for conventioneers, sports fans and locals alike. Sandwiched between H&R Block headquarters and a new arena, the Power and Light District is great for lunch crowds but made for weekend parties.
All across town, Kansas City is building and building to last.