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downtown

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City is painting the town red ahead of Sunday's big game.

The Chiefs host the Tennessee Titans at 2:05 p.m. Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium in the AFC Championship Game with a trip to the Super Bowl on the line. It's the second straight year Kansas City has advanced this far in the playoffs, and with football fever in the air once again, metro motorists are seeing red everywhere.

Segment 1: What are the big housing and development stories in Kansas City right now?

The guiding question for KCUR's reporters headed into 2020 is: Where will we see cranes? This discussion provides context for an installment of our newsroom's State of Kansas City 2020 series.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR 89.3

For Willie Vader, the Johnson County Courthouse can't be demolished soon enough. 

"That is the single biggest thing that could help downtown Olathe, what goes in there after that building comes down," Vader said. 

He owns Vader's Bar and Deli on Cherry Street, just east of the courthouse. The courthouse is nearly 70 years old and will be replaced by a bigger, more up-to-date one that's currently being built a block north. The new courthouse is expected to open in early 2021, and the plan is to tear the old one down shortly after. 

Adam Vogel / Copyright Kansas City Business Journal

Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. has selected 1400 Baltimore Ave. as the location for its new $140 million headquarters in downtown Kansas City.

Kansas City Royals

If the Kansas City Royals' new ownership group is seriously considering moving the franchise's stadium to Downtown, they aren't showing their cards just yet.

During an introductory press conference Tuesday, new Royals chairman, CEO and controlling owner John Sherman was asked about whether the new owners were considering the move. He responded that the ownership group will be evaluating the potential to move in the coming years, but that there's a general idea that baseball stadiums can have a mutually beneficial relationship with economic development in denser areas.

BNIM and HOK

A scaled-back incentives request for the proposed $133 million Strata project has been approved by the Kansas City Council despite becoming a lightning rod for how the newly elected officials will approach economic incentives for major developments.

The 7-4 vote came after tense and heated debate Thursday on whether to grant incentives to the high-end office tower that has been languishing in City Hall for much of the last year. The project was first announced in late 2018.

Segment 1: Families live in downtown Kansas City, but it wasn't necessarily built with them in mind.

The accepted wisdom in Kansas City has long been that families want houses in the suburbs and that the market for downtown is young professionals and empty nesters, but families have lived downtown for generations.

Segment 1: The new structures and businesses making news in Downtown Kansas City.

Some of the more noteworthy announcements in recent downtown development projects include the United States Department of Agriculture relocation and Waddell & Reed's move from Overland Park. We learn about these and other projects, and discuss the use of property tax abatements to attract new growth.

When it comes to electric scooters, it seems that people either love them, or want to see them all thrown into a river — literally.

BNIM and HOK

The future of a proposed downtown office tower is now in the hands of a new city council torn between fulfilling a 15-year-old contract and protecting taxpayer money. 

The 25-story tower would be the first multi-tenant, premium office building built downtown since 1991. It would be built on a speculative basis — meaning it has no tenants lined up — on the southwest corner of 13th and Main, above current retailers like Yard House. 

On Wednesday, 1st District councilwoman Heather Hall summed up what several councilmembers were feeling. 

School of Economics

If you grew up in suburban Kansas City in the 1990s, you probably remember taking a field trip to Exchange City or the Blue Springs School of Economics, simulated towns run entirely by 10-year-olds.

Exchange City closed years ago, but the Blue Springs program still teaches 12,000 elementary students a year about money, scarcity, opportunity cost and supply and demand. And next month, the School of Economics is opening a new downtown location in the UMB bank building.

Segment 1: A New York Times reporter sees votes for Quinton Lucas as votes for neighborhoods.

The weekend before Kansas City's mayoral election, a story appeared in the New York Times suggesting that this election came down to a choice: continued emphasis on downtown, or a shift toward prioritizing neighborhoods struggling in downtown's shadow. The author joins us to reflect on the outcome.

Seg. 1: Micro-Apartments | Seg. 2: Dad Jokes Beer

Jun 6, 2019

Segment 1: Affordability of Micro-Apartments

Developers plan to include micro-apartments as an option for "affordable housing" in the Midland building downtown. The plan has inspired an outcry from skeptical Kansas Citians: Is paying $750 for a tiny apartment truly affordable? A housing advocate and a business journalist weigh in.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3 file photo

For a young professional, The Grand apartment building in the heart of downtown, blocks from the Power and Light district, is a dream — it’s home to the highest rooftop pool in Kansas City, an indoor theater, a yoga studio, a digital sports lounge and a pet spa. Yes, a pet spa.

Seg. 1: The North Loop | Seg. 2: Molly Murphy

May 20, 2019

Segment 1: The North Loop

The creation of the North Loop redefined downtown Kansas City in the mid 1900's. How has this region of the highway system impacted our city's past, present and future?

Kevin Collison

Downtown Kansas City lost one of its most enthusiastic champions when Jared Miller was struck and killed by a semi-truck late Saturday morning while crossing the North Loop freeway from the River Market.

The eastbound trucker didn’t see the pedestrian until it was too late to avoid striking him, according to Kansas City Police. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

In a Facebook post Sunday, his wife Julie Miller said her 34-year-old husband was trying to cross the road after his run when he was hit.

Cory Weaver

With her stoic beauty, her uni-brow and her dark hair braided with flowers, the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo has an iconic face. Kahlo died in the 1950s, but she continues to fascinate people world-wide — including this spring in Kansas City. 

"She's unapologetic. She's angry and she's hurt and she's putting it in this portrait. I like that honesty and that rawness," says actor and writer Vanessa Severo, who stars in a play about Kahlo at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre.

The Kansas City Ballet recently earned national recognition — backed up with significant financial support — when the Hearst Foundations awarded $100,000 to a program that introduces third and fourth-grade students to dance fundamentals. 

Poetic Kinetic

Union Station is set to add a shape-shifting display to the downtown skyline this summer with a huge floating sculpture described as jaw-dropping by one observer who knows a bit about art.

"When you see this sculpture fly, you’ll believe in magic," said Tony Jones, the president of the Kansas City Art Institute, who saw a similar work by the artist in downtown Los Angeles.

Segment 1: Should Kansas City move the Royals to a downtown baseball stadium?

The Kansas City Star's editorial board has issued an article stating that "it's time" to start talking about a downtown baseball stadium. In this conversation, we look into what that might look like, evaluate pros and cons, and find out how Kansas Citians are responding to this idea.

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3 file photo

Segment 1: We hear from the man responsible for getting stuff done in Kansas City.

From the future of a downtown ballpark to "pothole management" to streetcar expansion, we talked with the city manager about several big issues on the minds of Kansas Citians. Schulte also addressed caller questions, and says of rising water costs in Kansas City, "we're hopeful we can get a new environmental agreement done for the next 17 years of the plan, and the days of double-digit rate increases are over."

courtesy of Hufft Projects

Kansas City's Charlotte Street Foundation, which for the last 20 years has been a nomadic arts organization with offices, studio residencies, exhibition spaces and black box performances in various spaces around the city, has plans to consolidate its operations at a new location in Roanoke Park.

"Charlotte Street is poised to realize a vision for a multi-use facility that will be a permanent site," Amy Kligman, Charlotte Street Foundation's executive director, and artistic director, wrote on the organization's website this week.

Burns & McDonnell / Copaken Brooks

Segment 1: Commercial real estate projects are surging throughout the metro.

Major developments popping up in the Plaza, Crossroads, and downtown may not be changing the skyline (yet), but they are making Kansas City "taller." Today, the city's foremost reporter on downtown development shared details on new and in-the-works office buildings, apartments, and hotels, and discussed how "downtown is becoming a more dense and vibrant place."

Laura Spencer / KCUR 89.3

Back in March, President Donald Trump announced tariffs, or import taxes, on steel and aluminum from countries around the globe: 25 percent for steel and 10 percent for aluminum.

These tariffs have had an impact on agriculture, and consumers, but they've also affected creative industries, including A. Zahner Company, a Kansas City-based architecture and design firm that deals mostly in metals. 

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Protesters in cities across the country marched Thursday evening to decry President Donald Trump’s decision to fire Attorney General Jeff Sessions. In Kansas City, protesters said they fear Session’s replacement will quash Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The bland exterior of the new Crossroads Hotel at 2101 Central may fool you, but once inside the historic brick shell you’ll discover and enjoy a post-industrial chic vibe that’s right out of New York’s famed SoHo District.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.8

In a week when the first concrete is being poured to extend Kansas City's MAX bus line from downtown to Prospect Avenue, the Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA) met with residents to let them know when buildings might be blocked and where protected walkways will be.

Bob Jones Shoes has been a staple in downtown Kansas City since 1960. When the retailer announced it was closing its doors in August, many shoe aficionados in Kansas City were aghast.

They've flocked to the final days of the footwear mecca to find that last perfect "fit," take advantage of the going-out-of-business sale and pay their respects to what has become a local icon.

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.

For the past two decades, artist Mike Lyon has worked in a three-story building near 20th and Broadway in Kansas City, Missouri, creating monumental portraits using computer numerical control — or CNC — machines to automate the drawing process.

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