I often have clients fly into town from out of the state and the big challenge is to bring my clients up to speed with the different opportunities and the unique areas of Kansas City (both in Missouri and Kansas) that would be particular good areas to invest in. Every year of so a new part of town becomes “the place” where things will really take off, or there is great potential. The past few years that has been downtown Kansas City with millions of dollars being poured into developing, converting and attaching the word “loft” to every project and advertising banner. The concept of “if you build it…” played a major role in the Sprint Center and surrounding Power & Light District of downtown Kansas City. Its recent opening has been very positive for the downtown area, but time will tell if the overpriced lofts stay in high demand and people who spend their money at the nearby Country Club Plaza venture a few miles north to a different venue to keep those shops open. We should not fail to mention that every appeal to bring in a professional sports team has turned up empty. Typically build to suit is done with a tenant lined up….oh well. It is a nice place to watch a basketball game if you are not in the nosebleeds.
The next big development will surround a soccer stadium in Southern KC and the community is buzzing about this next great project when the most recent one is yet to prove its longevity and success. I think the venue is on the wrong side of the state line and soccer is most popular for the younger age group. The soccer kiddos won’t be the wons to be season ticket holders and/or spend their paychecks on expensive watered-down beer and over-sized jackets with embroidered race cars.
Building in a community that apparently would prefer a vacant mall rather than a sports venue tells you that the climate may not be right on multiple levels. If only the developments were not so spread out, we might actually have some sustainable values and character in the greater area rather than just pockets. The historic jazz district located at 18th & Vine is a perfect example of how a nice new development can be surrounded by a neighborhood that is very unattractive.
If we don’t continue to develop the inner core outwards we will always be developing random pockets and never have the sustainable values necessary for a true transformation of areas. It has to be said that any revitalization is better than none at all. My hope is to see a path of progress that is thoughtful and effective rather than random and inconsistent.