Kevin Collison | KCUR

Kevin Collison

Kevin Collison, a freelance contributor to KCUR 89.3, writes about downtown Kansas City for his website CityScene KC.

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CitySceneKC / EJ Holtze Corp.

A $63 million boutique hotel that backers say would be the most luxurious in the metro is being proposed across Wyandotte Street from the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The seven-year quest to bring the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance to downtown Kansas City ended abruptly Tuesday when university officials issued a statement rejecting any downtown location.

Instead, UMKC will consider sites either on or within a 2.5-mile radius of the Volker campus in the next round of considering proposals, according to a letter from UMKC Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal.

Brian Rice

This weekend’s Kansas City Irish Fest, which kicks off Friday at Crown Center when The Maguire Brothers take the stage at 5 p.m., marks the end of an era in local music history.

One of the region’s most popular musical groups of any genre, The Elders, will take the stage for the last time after performing for 16 consecutive years at the annual Labor Day weekend festival. 

The musicians' ages have finally caught up with the name of their band. They've been on a farewell tour throughout 2018, and now it’s time for them to say good-bye to a festival that has done so much to fuel their success.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The irony of Bob Jones Shoes making it through the tough times only to close its doors now that downtown Kansas City is coming back isn’t lost on Rocky Horowitz.

“We seen downtown go from bad to good to really good,” he said.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Right now, two of the city’s oldest buildings near the 18th and Vine Jazz District look the part: limestone ruins straight out of Medieval Europe.

But Jason Parson, Tim Duggan and Shomari Benton have big plans for redeveloping the former City Water and Street Department buildings at 2000 Vine. Both were built in 1866, making them more than 150 years old, and have been empty since 1994.

“They were the first two public works buildings in Kansas City history,” Duggan said. “These shells were built like tanks.”

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

If anybody embraces the concept of Kismet, it’s David Ford and Adam Jones, two of Kansas City’s most free-spirited originals.

They have combined to find a new home for YJ’s Snack Bar in the former Sylvia’s Deli space at 1746 Washington, just a few blocks west of the old YJ’s location at 128 W. 18th.

“It was incredibly perfect timing,” Jones said. “It was the coolest home run we could ever hit. It all came together in about five seconds.”

3D Development

A $95 million redevelopment plan for the former Kansas City Star property that includes renovating the historic structure and building a boutique grocery store and marketplace above a 500-space underground garage has cleared its first hurdles at City Hall.

The full Kansas City Council on Thursday approved an ambitious plan from developer Vincent Bryant, who told a council committee Wednesday morning that he wanted to make the former Star campus the economic center of the Crossroads area.

Pedersen Development

A Colorado developer is planning a $37 million Hyatt House Hotel on a vacant lot at Ninth and Broadway, and in a major departure, the project would be built without parking.

Scott Pedersen of Boulder-based Pedersen Development said guests staying at the proposed 13-story, 153-room hotel would be served with valet parking.

The reason?

“Kansas City parking garage utilization runs at 56 percent occupancy at noon and drops to 26 percent at 5 p.m. Overnight, it’s 13 percent,” Pedersen said.

Kevin Collison

Construction is expected to begin soon on the $68 million West Bottoms Flats apartment development, the first major renovation project in the downtown warehouse district that fueled Kansas City’s economic growth in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Kevin Collison

The long-vacant Wheatley-Provident Hospital, an important landmark in the Kansas City African-American community, has been purchased by a development group with plans to renovate it as offices.

More than a century of newspaper history ends today when The Kansas City Star staff moves from its historic quarters at 1729 Grand into new space in the Press Pavilion across McGee Street.

Burns and McDonnell

Copaken Brooks is proposing a 14-story apartment tower on the southwest corner of 18th and Walnut, a striking addition to the skyline that would replace a crumbling Crossroads parking lot with 132 residences.

The $40- to $50 million project would be the second residential tower developed by the firm in the Crossroads Arts District. The other is the 12-story ARTerra project going up at 2100 Wyandotte.

It’s also a half-block north of the firm’s Corrigan Station office development at 19th and Walnut.

MAC Properties

A “transformational” plan that would add hundreds of apartments and new businesses to the rundown intersection of Troost and Armour was unanimously endorsed Tuesday by the Kansas City Plan Commission.

Chicago-based MAC Properties, which has developed more than 1,500 apartments along Armour Boulevard over the last decade, wants to invest $78 million in its biggest project to date. It would add 450 apartments and 27,000 square feet of retail to the area.

It received a warm welcome from the Plan Commission.

Foutch Architecture and Development

It’s naming time – again – for the former Kemper Arena, and this time Hy-Vee is stamping its brand on the $39 million redevelopment project.

The Iowa-based supermarket chain, which operates 20 stores in metro Kansas City, is replacing Mosaic Life Care, which had to drop its naming rights agreement for the arena last December after being bought by Saint Luke’s Health System.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

Southbound traffic on the Buck O’Neil Bridge, a major link connecting Kansas City's Northland to downtown, is scheduled to shut down May 19 for a $7 million repair project.

Work on the former Broadway Bridge, which carries 44,000 vehicles daily on Route 169, is expected to be completed by December 1. Northbound traffic will not be affected during construction.

The short-term repairs to the 62 year-old bridge will buy time for planning and building a replacement bridge that would open in 2023, officials said.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

The future layout of Kansas City's planned streetcar extension from downtown to the University of Missouri-Kansas City is on a map, with proposed stops and alignment on Main Street revealed at a recent public hearing.

For the most part, the eight suggested streetcar stops mirror those in place for the MAX rapid-transit bus route now serving that stretch of Main, according to Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

In a major boost to downtown Kansas City, Kan., the long-vacant former EPA office building will be converted to a mental and behavioral health facility employing 400 people.

The University of Kansas Health System plans to invest $61 million converting the unique 220,000 square-foot office building, vacant since 2011, into what’s being described as a “state-of-the-art” healthcare facility.

Cooper Carry

Kansas City's long quest to build a downtown convention hotel entered its final stretch on Thursday at a groundbreaking event next to the construction site at 17th and Baltimore.

Work actually began a month ago at the 3-acre site, which is across Wyandotte Street from the Bartle Hall Grand Ballroom. A tower crane loomed above a white tent where more than 200 people celebrated what will be the Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel, a $322.7 million project expected to be completed by late April 2020.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

This post was updated at 2:06 p.m. to include additional comments from interim chancellor and provost Barbara Bichelmeyer.   

In a major setback to downtown’s cultural ambitions, the planned UMKC Downtown Conservatory has suffered a fatal financial blow, losing a $20 million private pledge essential to building the project.

First reported by CityScene KC, the Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation has withdrawn its $20 million pledge after deciding the ambitious project as originally planned was no longer viable.

Courtesy Bill Haw Jr.

The Crossroads building recently vacated by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is being purchased by Kansas City civic leader Bill Lyons, who plans to lease part of it to an expanded Haw Contemporary.

Bill Haw Jr. plans to lease about 2,500 square feet on the east side of the building at 19th and Baltimore to allow him to grow beyond his current operation in the West Bottoms, Lyons said.

Courtesy Exact Partners

The 11-story former Netherlands Hotel is slated to be redeveloped into 110 apartments, part of a Main Street development surge linked to the planned streetcar extension.

The decrepit Netherlands at 3835 Main and its neighbor, the former Monarch Storage building at 3829 Main, are part of a more than $30 million redevelopment plan being pursued by Exact Partners.

Courtesy Loews

After seven years of discussion and planning, construction of a 24-story, 800-room downtown convention hotel in Kansas City is expected to begin Jan. 2 following approvals of key documents Wednesday.

A thick stack of financing and property transfer documents necessary for the $322.7 million Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel project was approved unanimously by the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority.

Courtesy BNIM

After a 36 year absence, a full-service YMCA will be returning to downtown Kansas City — this time in the historic Lyric Theater at 11th and Central.

The Missouri Development Finance Board on Tuesday approved up to $4 million in state tax credits, a move that will allow the YMCA to complete its fundraising for the project that's been in the works since 2012.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City International Airport is broadening its horizons, hosting a community design meeting for the new terminal in Johnson County after all and stepping up efforts to attract international air service.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Mayor James came out swinging today against Republican tax reform proposals being considered in Washington, saying they would “cripple” vital city redevelopment and infrastructure efforts including the planned new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

“We need an agenda to revitalize and restore the infrastructure of our cities, not cripple future investment in our urban centers,” James said in a press release.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Sculptor Spencer Schubert has his works prominently displayed across the region from Manhattan to Jefferson City, and now wants to do something closer to home as a healing gesture for his community.

He’s proposing a soaring sculpture of two hands grasping a knotted rope as a sign of unity to replace a controversial Confederate memorial removed last August from the median of Ward Parkway at 55th Street.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

In a big breakthrough for downtown commuters, Missouri highway and Kansas City officials have come up with an interim repair plan that avoids closing the Buck O'Neil Bridge entirely and buys time for a hoped-for, permanent replacement.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

A. Zahner Co., a world-renowned, architectural metal fabrication firm, is practicing its creativity on its $5 million expansion project at its downtown headquarters and manufacturing facility at Eighth and The Paseo.

File Photo By Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The owner of The Kansas City Star has decided not to sell the newspaper’s massive green-glass production plant overlooking downtown after all.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The congested bus transit center at 10th and Main is scheduled to be closed within two years, opening up space for a potential pocket park in the heart of downtown.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority plans to relocate the 1/2-acre transit center, currently a hub for 15 bus routes, to a new, larger site in the East Village area at the southeast corner of 12th and Charlotte.

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