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Old 12-13-2012, 01:46 PM
 
1,830 posts, read 3,109,783 times
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This post reminded how much has changed in last 10 years or so. About 10 years ago The Star had a major series about how dismal downtown was. How things have changed.

Downtown's heart beats strongly once again | Midwest Voices

- Population went from <10K to near 20K (though still needs more) and new downtown grocery added
- Nearly 100 buildings have been converted to lofts/apts/condos including 3 warehouse loft districts
- Since 2005 added 2 MAX semi-BRT lines, 12 bikeshare stations, streetcar approved (free to use, 2015)
- New arena, one of most profitable, busiest in US. Restored Midland theatre, new movie theaters
- New Performing Arts Center, considered among tops in world at moment, new ballet/opera centers too
- Crossroads gallery district is one of largest in country (still lacks nightly energy - needs to double pop)
- Restaurants have probably doubled, a few James Beard category, lots of ethnic/urbane eats added
- Small aquarium and Legoland recently added in Crown Center
- Union Station - some wanted torn down, is now profitable, fantastic event space
- Power & Light District improves downtown significantly overall for what it is but will take years to profit
- Not yet translating to more office population, partly due to KS stealing downtown companies
- Overall, well over $6B development since 2000.
- Am missing something
- Needs: more housing/population, more hotels, infill development especially in Xroads, commuter rail from burbs

Downtown is pumping when there are events going on but otherwise often lacks nightly energy, compared to Westport/Plaza/midtown area. Still need to increase downtown pop to have a busy downtown for low event nights - demand is there (95% occupancy downtown) but developers not keeping up with demand.

Last edited by xenokc; 12-13-2012 at 02:40 PM..
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Old 12-13-2012, 05:31 PM
 
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One of the main things that hurt downtown was not putting the stadiums there.
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Old 12-13-2012, 07:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lovekcmo View Post
One of the main things that hurt downtown was not putting the stadiums there.
Half right.. I dont see how a football stadium helps downtown.. A baseball I can see how obviously.. I would guess around 2030 the big debate is where do the Royals put their new stadium downtown then... We'll see though
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Old 12-13-2012, 11:09 PM
 
Location: Middle America
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The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is phenomenal, and hands down the greatest asset to arrive on the scene in the time I've lived here.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:04 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbtornado View Post
Half right.. I dont see how a football stadium helps downtown.. A baseball I can see how obviously.. I would guess around 2030 the big debate is where do the Royals put their new stadium downtown then... We'll see though
Yeah, football doesn't belong downtown. Baseball was a missed opportunity but wasn't up to the city entirely. The owner didn't want to move downtown.

Downtown is already pumping when there are events going on, it's not very lively on non-event nights and will need to grow population even more. Pop growth needs to be #1 priority, not more venues.
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Old 12-14-2012, 08:21 AM
 
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A few other things..

- Cool new downtown public library in old bank building, bank vault is used to show films


- New true urban gradeschool (not affiliated with KCSD). Pretty cool how it's integrated into downtown. They use downtown facilities as school space, like downtown library as school library, visit city govt for class, Lyric opera, Quality Hiill Playhouse is performance space for school, visit Xroad galleries, PAC, etc.
Downtown elementary school fills neighborhood need - KansasCity.com

- UMKC has been looking to expand downtown and now KC Art Institute is looking to expand

- West Bottoms is turning into a cool antique district and makes best 'haunted houses' lists in US
kc core dump - misc street views

Last edited by xenokc; 12-14-2012 at 08:53 AM..
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Old 12-14-2012, 09:35 AM
 
Location: Kansas City, MO
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^Football might not be meant for an immediate downtown/urban district like baseball is, but it would still be cool for the football stadium to also be in the downtown area. Imagine it tucked away somewhere like where Kemper Arena is, where there could be live shots of downtown in the background and in my scenario tailgating along the Kansas River.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:14 PM
 
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If theres a football arena downtown where would people park.
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Old 12-14-2012, 12:49 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC area
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Lots of great things have happened.

Some of the bigs like:
All new housing in the old industrial buildings

The new and replaced infrastructure (bridges, streets, signals, lighting, signs, etc).

Kauffman center

Sprint Center

WWI museum and restoration of the monument

Restoration of Union Station

Power and Light District including the theaters (Midland and Mainstreet)

H&R Block world HQ

Building up a large and state of the art covention center and ballroom

Government investment (IRS, Fed Reserve etc)

Downtown Library

Implementation of MAX and bike share

Thank god the Halls still love KCMO and continue to improve the Crown Center area.


The big misses are:

Not bringing the baseball stadium downtown (Arrowhead is in a PERFECT location for an NFL stadium)

Not building the initial light rail starter line in the 90's (the plan killed by mayor Cleaver as "tourist froufoo".)

Not building the world hq for Sprint downtown (they were actually very close to going there and already occupied around a million sq ft of office space downtown)

Not taking advantage of the parks and levees for recreation (most of Penn Valley, River Fronts etc underutilized)

Not finding ways to make the downtown freeway loop less intrusive (MoDot actually plans to make its footprint larger)

Not getting a convention hotel up (really the final piece in the puzzle to make KC a third tier convention city again)

Not building an Ameristar type destination casino/hotel near the north end of the
Broadway Bridge directly across the river from the river market (city went with Hilton now the Isle of Crap, instead and somebody at the port authority was aparently bribed in the process).

Electing Funkhouser which erased any momentum downtown had left and probably cost KCMO four years of development.

Having such a fierce enemy as Johnson County (with lots of help from Topeka) next door to poach companies that otherwise would not have left downtown like AMC and Fishnet.

And lastly this is sort of out of the control of anybody at the city etc, but I think one of the biggest misses of all might have been the downfall of the great morgan real estate empire which started, but never completed, the Kansas City Place development. KC no longer has such aggressive developers and out of towners don't build there. Had the Kansas City Place development been built out, KC would have several more 40-50 story office towers and that class A office space would have helped it compete with not only Johnson County, but places like Denver, Minneapolis and Dallas. KC might have been overbuilt for a while, but it would have recovered as a much larger national office market just like the other cities I mentioned. When you have a glut of high end high rise spec class A space, you land companies like Sprint downtown and with that new hotels etc. A developer like Morgan is also more likely to build new residential towers or hotel towers that need a lot of private money. KC no longer has anybody to build high profile private projects like say a mixed use tower with a four seasons or W hotel on the upper floors. Cordish tried, but Funkhouser told them where to go.

When you never build anything new, you just watch what you have turn into class B or C office space over time and you watch your hotels become dated and you never get off the ground with "new" residential construction which needs capital to get rents up high enough to get private projects going.

Denver, Dallas, Minneapolis, Atlanta etc all have aggressive developers and progressive city leadership that are willing to take risks and spend some money. KC still needs that. Right now KC's most agressive developers are those in Topeka handing out blank checks to build office space in Leawood for kcmo based companies.

Last edited by kcmo; 12-14-2012 at 01:38 PM..
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Old 12-14-2012, 03:03 PM
 
1,830 posts, read 3,109,783 times
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^Of your list, the biggest deterrent to downtown growth was Funkhouser as mayor in the middle of the momentum. He was not only worthless, he harmed KC development - although economy did too. The previous and recent mayor are probably the most effective KC has seen in a long time - they make things happen, at least more than not.

Downtown baseball stadium would be a nice to have but Royals owner didn't want it. If he did and pushed hard for it, the whole metro probably would have made it happen.

LRT in 90s would've been nice. Would've been ahead of time as downtown population was much smaller. Obviously would've been great to pull off but MSP didn't have anything til hitting over 3M population. Usually public transit is driven by existing population density and severe traffic problems, not other way around.

Same with parks. Mill Creek and Loose Park are very busy because people live near them. Penn Valley and Riverfront are less busy because less people live near them. The solution is more population, which is continuing to gain downtown.
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