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Country Club Plaza's new owners want to add a grocery store and widen sidewalks

The Country Club Plaza in September 2023.
Nikki Overfelt Chifalu
Startland News
The Country Club Plaza in September 2023.

HP Village Management bought the Country Club Plaza last month after its previous owners defaulted on loan payments. The shopping district's new owners have big plans to improve the area — including increasing security, attracting local tenants, and making it friendlier to pedestrians.

Ray Washburne just bought the Country Club Plaza, and he doesn't sugar coat it: Kansas City's outdoor shopping district is in bad shape.

Washburne is the president of HP Village Management, the Dallas-based group that closed on the sale of the Plaza last month.

“This is a family purchase … we’re not some private equity fund," Washburne told KCUR's Up To Date. "Our plan is to own this multi-generational.”

He says the area needs millions in fixes, among which are improvements to the "dingy" parking garages and $15 million in repairs to building roofs. Improved landscaping, security and pedestrian safety are also priorities, which could include slowing down vehicle traffic and widening sidewalks.

Visitors to the area could start seeing those improvements soon.

“Come back a year from now and you’ll see an incredible change in the whole pedestrian experience on that," Washburne said.

Washburne says he also wants the Plaza to serve Kansas Citians who live in the neighborhood, not just visitors. That includes bringing a grocery store to the district.

"The feeling is not like you're going to do your weekly shopping there," Washburne said. "But you'll run in there and you can get, you know, the basic things."

In the year it took to ink the deal, Washburne says six tenants closed their storefronts. HP Village Management wants to focus on attracting more local tenants, especially in the food and beverage scene, and hopes to add a new office building on the vacant lot previously set aside for Nordstrom.

“We can invest an immense amount of money upfront, because I don’t have shareholders I have to satisfy with an immediate return.”

HP Village Management plans to hold listening sessions this fall to hear residents' feedback.

  • Ray Washburne, president, HP Village Management
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As a host and contributor at KCUR, I seek to create a more informed citizenry and richer community. I want to enlighten and inspire our audience by delivering the information they need with accuracy and urgency, clarifying what’s complicated and teasing out the complexities of what seems simple. I work to craft conversations that reveal realities in our midst and model civil discourse in a divided world. Follow me on Twitter @ptsbrian or email me at brian@kcur.org.
As an Up To Date producer, I aim to create a space for Kansas Citians to come together for curious and inspired conversations about the region we call home. I want to help find answers to big questions, shine a light on local change makers and break down complex issues people need to know about. Email me at hallejackson@kcur.org.
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