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Old 12-21-2011, 10:26 AM
 
Location: KC Area
345 posts, read 691,943 times
Reputation: 216

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Ya so we have a river, but really no waterfront. It seems people either forget we have two large rivers in the metro, or they ignore the fact that the river is what makes KC special. Kansas City WAS a river town, but not anymore. It seems to be forgotten which is sad, because you see Minneapolis and St. Louis and Chicago make great use of their waterfront, and I wish KC could do the same.

I think we really need to have a metro wide project on adding parks and trails and preserving the land along the river. I know there are many (and I mean MANY) rail yards along the river, but really how much of that is in use? We can easily make parks and other recreation along it, especially in downtown and River Market.

As I've said before, River Market really needs to be turned into something of a Pearl District (Portland) or a Belltown (Seattle). Maybe even on a much smaller scale, Midtown Atlanta. There is so much empty room in River Market to build new apartments and give it new life with little specialty shops. There are a few apartments there right now, but they look (from the outside) very old and unattractive for such a great city market. And 15ish story apartments/condos/lofts and really freshen that area up. With a revitalized River Market, not only would it attract way more people, but it would attract a waterfront with a good park system along the river, at least in downtown. It would also push the need even more for a light rail or streetcar.

BTW... I've been thinking about companies and downtown living. I know it is very improbable but i will share my plan with you. Sprint moving to downtown! More than half of the Sprint campus isn't used anymore, and many other companies (YRC, etc.) have been filling up the empty space of the Sprint HQ in Overland Park. If Sprint moves into downtown, that is 7,500+ workers being added to downtown. A new office building (30 stories?) would be built, preferably on the east side of downtown where not much is happening. Or they could occupy a vacant building (maybe AMC old building). This would also push the need for more bus routes from Joco. The JO bus service would greatly expand. Or even commuter rail into Johnson County.

Also, the Power and Light building can be converted into apartments, since downtown living is in high demand. Power and Light could move into another vacant building, or even combine with Sprint to form a new tallest building in KC. And with the empty Sprint buildings in Overland Park, more businesses could move in. Or, they can be renovated to be apartments with store fronts, and become an urban village.

I know all of it is bold and improbable, and this probably could have been two threads, but I wanted to share my ideas with all of you, haha. Wouldn't this be awesome? With this Kansas City would definitely jump a tier and would become an even better regional hub.
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Old 12-21-2011, 11:18 AM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5409
It's fun to dream isn't it? Having Sprint downtown is one my long time dreams about KC. 4 million sq ft of office space. That would have been 4-6 new 30-50 story towers downtown, not to mention any spin-off development it would have created.

It would have changed the city forever and propelled the downtown skyline and work force into the leagues of Denver, Minneapolis and possibly even Seattle. Even if Sprint vacated half of the downtown office towers, they would have eventually filled back up and KC would have 4 million sq ft of class A office space it wouldn't have had before. Even when the economy is doing well, spec office buildings don't go up in downtown KC, so having the sprint towers would have made KC a primary place for new companies to move into the city from out of town looking for large chunks of class A urban office space. Places like Denver, Atlanta, Dallas etc overbuild and then recover nicely with a huge net increase of jobs for that very reason.

And Sprint could have also gone to downtown KCK. In one fell swoop, they would have transformed downtown KCK from crap into a downtown more in line with a St Paul or something.

Did you know that Sprint vacated a huge chunk of the One Kansas City Place office tower downtown when they built the campus? I think they had like 20 floors in that building. They also had a lot of space on the plaza.

Now instead of having at least some Sprint presence in the urban core (7500 is sill a huge number) and lots of modern class A office space KC could use to lure new companies downtown from the burbs or out of town, Downtown KC is losing companies a second time around to the Sprint Campus.

That sprint campus has been a total disaster for KC. It's difficult to even imagine what KC would be like had Sprint made a different decision. It would probably have 10-20 miles of light rail, maybe half the companies that did leave downtown wouldn't have and others came downtown, the Royals might even be playing at Sprint Field downtown etc. We are talking about the 1990's here. A time when other cities were re-discovering their downtowns and companies were trying to get away from suburban campuses when they could so they could make themselves and their cities more attractive to younger, more urban oriented employees. But KC was doing the exact opposite building one of the largest suburban campuses ever built in this country.

Had Sprint gone downtown, Overland Park would still be the fast growing affluent suburb it is today, only it would be part of a much more vibrant metropolitan area with a more thriving urban core.

I also agree with you on the rivers, but the rivers in KC are really sort of isolated from the urban fabric of KC and as you mentioned, there is still plenty of infill needed in other areas before going into the disconnected riverfronts. Even the river market is pretty far from the river when it comes to topography. Also the MO river is just not that impressive. KCMO missed its opportunity to build up the riverfront by selecting Hilton (now isle of crap) as the downtown casino and passed up massive proposals that would have transformed the riverfront near the river market due to some under the table bribes. That has been a total disaster.

KCK continues to pass up its own opportunities to develop Kaw Point by putting all its eggs in the Village West basket.

So other than a the heritage trail (which seems to be a fail so far because projects like that thrive in other cities) I wouldn't count on much riverfront development in KC for at least 20 years. KC really needs to fill in the crossroads, the entire eastern half of the downtown loop etc before building office or residential on the rivers.

Recreation is a different story.

I find it sad that the trail from the Isle of crap to kaw point is not one of KC's most treasured recreational assets by now. Like I said, nearly every city out there with a river now has extremely popular levee and river front trails even if their rivers are not developed commercially. Seems like KC is missing that boat big time right now by taking 20 years to piece together a trail that barely functions and is poorly marked and rarely used.

Last edited by kcmo; 12-21-2011 at 11:57 AM..
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Old 12-21-2011, 12:59 PM
 
Location: KC Area
345 posts, read 691,943 times
Reputation: 216
Do you think it is possible for Kansas City (MO) to lure back Sprint with money (incentives), like Johnson County has done with so many other companies? I saw earlier today that Allstate is moving into the Sprint campus. I don't think the possibility of "buying" Sprint back into downtown is that far-fetched. Sprint I'm sure hates more companies moving into their offices. In fact, Sprint is now changing the name of their Sprint-related streets on the campus to other companies' names (i.e. Outlook Road) and I heard they are taking down the Sprint signs. Kansas City should propose a new office complex for Sprint downtown, and really try to please Sprint. You're right kcmo about the Royals. But we still have a chance of getting an NBA or NHL team in the next few years.

I believe that KC should really try to get Sprint back, but KC does not seem aggressive and bold like you and I would be if we were the mayors . I don't even know if the city cares.

What do you think of the Power and Light Building becoming residential? And then P and L moving into a vacant building? It would bring many many more residents. And I think with more residents, the trails would get more use. As well as a more pleasing pedestrian friendly area.

It would also help if nearly every theatre/orchestra production be held at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center. With the Legoland and aquarium coming to Crown Center, maybe downtown will see another swing of development and more businesses coming; as well as light rail or streetcar. Another thing, why does KC invest so much in redeveloping Kemper and that area? Why can't they go back to revitilizing downtown? There's still quite a bit of work to be done downtown.

I'm not even going to start with KCK...

Last edited by jaxontwinz; 12-21-2011 at 01:17 PM..
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:17 PM
 
Location: Old Hyde Park, Kansas City,MO
1,145 posts, read 1,998,962 times
Reputation: 562
Wouldn't Downtown be huge if we didn't have Crown Center, i mean crown center is kind of like a mini Midtown Atlanta
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5409
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaxontwinz View Post
Do you think it is possible for Kansas City (MO) to lure back Sprint with money, like Johnson County has done with so many other companies? I saw earlier today that Allstate is moving into the Sprint campus. I don't think the possibility of "buying" Sprint back into downtown is that far-fetched. Sprint I'm sure hates more companies moving into their offices. Kansas City should propose a new office complex for Sprint downtown, and really try to please Sprint. You're right kcmo about the Royals. But we still have a chance of getting an NBA or NHL team in the next few years.

I believe that KC should really try to get Sprint back, but KC does not seem aggressive and bold like you and I would be if we were the mayors . I don't even know if the city cares.

What do you think of the Power and Light Building becoming residential? And then P and L moving into a vacant building? It would bring many many more residents. And I think with more residents, the trails would get more use. As well as a more pleasing pedestrian friendly area.

It would also help if nearly every theatre/orchestra production be held at the Kauffman Performing Arts Center. With the Legoland and aquarium coming to Crown Center, maybe downtown will see another swing of development and more businesses coming; as well as light rail or streetcar. Another thing, why does KC invest so much in redeveloping Kemper and that area? Why can't they go back to revitilizing downtown? There's still quite a bit of work to be done downtown.

I'm not even going to start with KCK...
Sprint is not going to move downtown. They are now fully anchored in Overland Park and they do want to see companies move to their campus and sublease that space rather than keep it empty. Sprint in Downtown would have been awesome for KC, but it didn't happen and isn't going to happen now. While Sprint had a huge presence in kcmo (downtown, plaza and south KC), they were always a Kansas based company, so technically it wouldn't be bringing them "back". Although I think they actually had more people on the MO side than the KS side before they moved to the campus.

I still think about what could have been though!

Power & Light building will probably eventually go residential unless it becomes a part of a hotel project (which I think is a bad idea, the hotel needs to be new structure). The company KCPL moved out of the KCPL building a long time ago and moved to 1201 Walnut. I think they recently moved from there to One KC Place. They no longer play any role in their namesake building which I believe is now owned by some firm in NYC. That is one of the last structures (and certainly the largest) that has not been renovated in downtown. It will happen sooner or later.

People don't use the heritage trail because it doesn't go anywhere and it barely even follows the river. It's all chopped up, follows some city streets etc. A trail needs to actually follow the river in a dedicated trail that is many miles long, uninterrupted and is easy to understand and access. There also needs to be a pedestrian crossing over the river itself. All KC has been able to do is put some jersey barriers on the Heart of America Bridge and that crossing is not even connected to the river trail. They should find a way to put a ped crossing on the old ASB bridge (put it where the auto lanes used to be on the upper deck) and tie downtown to the levies on the north side of the river. Then you can run trails all the way to places like Parkville's English Landing Park and into Riverside. All that activity will get people to use the trails and then people will use the sections that go to KCK and Kaw Point. Now few people are going to use those sections of trail because it's just not active enough (safely issue) and isn't well connected to other trails, including the KCMO trail.

Last edited by kcmo; 12-21-2011 at 01:44 PM..
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Old 12-21-2011, 01:33 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5409
Quote:
Originally Posted by brewcrew1000 View Post
Wouldn't Downtown be huge if we didn't have Crown Center, i mean crown center is kind of like a mini Midtown Atlanta
I consider Crown Center to be downtown. It's only 10 blocks from the core of the CBD to CC. If KC's downtown is just the loop, then that would be one small downtown for the size of KC. I consider downtown to be broken up into districts (River Market, Quality Hill, CBD, P&L, Crossroads, Crown Center etc).

Last edited by kcmo; 12-21-2011 at 01:46 PM..
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Old 12-22-2011, 01:18 PM
 
Location: KC Area
345 posts, read 691,943 times
Reputation: 216
I also consider Crown Center to be downtown. But wouldn't it have been nice to have the mall part in the loop? Along with the fountains and festivals? Oh well. The only thing that truly bothers me about Crown Center is that it is only connected to downtown by bus. What if you wanted to shop and then go to your Big 12 Tourney game? A streetcar, or preferably light rail needs to connect these two very popular areas. Adn then go down to the Plaza.

Has anyone heard anything more about the streetcars? Last I heard was in late September and they said it was more a possibility now, than it has ever been before. Are they in any planning now? I know they already selected the route.
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Old 12-22-2011, 02:33 PM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
5,758 posts, read 9,486,551 times
Reputation: 2791
Quote:
Originally Posted by kcmo View Post
I consider Crown Center to be downtown. It's only 10 blocks from the core of the CBD to CC. If KC's downtown is just the loop, then that would be one small downtown for the size of KC. I consider downtown to be broken up into districts (River Market, Quality Hill, CBD, P&L, Crossroads, Crown Center etc).
I believe the exact definition is the river to 31st.
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Old 12-22-2011, 03:11 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
10,705 posts, read 18,493,517 times
Reputation: 5409
Quote:
Originally Posted by RjRobb2 View Post
I believe the exact definition is the river to 31st.
Yea, but the exact definition is a bit bloated if you ask me. 31st is Midtown not downtown. The Westside is the west side, not downtown.

I have always thought of Downtown as from the river to about 27th and from Summit to Troost. I know many consider the area from state line to 71 and the river to 31st, but IMO, that's too big. The west bottoms, west side, east side/beacon hill, union hill etc are all just outside of downtown.

But Crown Center is definitely downtown and the geographic center of downtown is basically the crossroads, which should be much more developed than it is for that reason.

That's just my opinion though.

Last edited by kcmo; 12-22-2011 at 03:28 PM..
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