KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City, Mo. Mayor Quinton Lucas rocked social media Friday morning when he posted on Twitter and Facebook ask users what they think of the future of country club square.
The Facebook post quickly racked up over 500 comments. Some people wanted more entertainment options, especially more kid-friendly options. Others wanted better pedestrian access, perhaps even closing a lane of vehicular traffic to create a pedestrian mall.
Many commentators wanted to see more local stores in the Plaza and argued that any national chain should be a specialty store not found elsewhere in the Kansas City area. People living nearby stressed the importance of maintaining the character of the neighborhood inspired by Seville, Spain.
A representative from Lucas’ office said the mayor has had several recent conversations with stakeholders about what they would like to see in the future of the Plaza. The mayor will work with city staff next week to consider ideas for making the Plaza more walkable as the conversation on broader topics continues.
KSHB 41 News spoke to businesses, buyers and others to get reaction and context to the mayor’s request on social media.
“There’s a lot of appeal for the Plaza’s recognition and status, so it’s an honor to be here,” Anna Murrow, Director of EB and Co.a jewelry and accessories store in the Plaza, said Friday.
The store was originally launched in the Made in KC Marketplace on the Plaza about four years ago. It expanded to its own storefront in 2021. Murrow said the Plaza’s location has led to increased business.
The only change Murrow would like is to see more local businesses in the Plaza. About 25% of the Plaza’s shops and restaurants are owned by locals.
“As a small business, we love to see other small businesses thrive,” Murrow said. “We are able to work with local influencers and other local businesses and support local makers. He feels very connected.
Cliff Couty oversees the development of the Plaza. Last week, he attended a meeting about the Cocina47 project proposed by Drake Development. The 150-foot-tall, nine-story building would replace the Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist at 47th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. Current rules prohibit buildings within the “bowl” of the Plaza from exceeding 45 feet.
“We don’t want the Plaza to turn into a wall of canyons on both sides,” said Couty, president of the South Plaza Neighborhood Association.
The Cocina47 project will be heading to the city plan commission for a meeting at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7.
“The Plaza is an iconic gem. We are very proud of it. The architecture is unique,” Couty said.
Stephen Block, of Block Real Estate Services, LLC, has worked at the Plaza for almost 50 years. He said the Plaza wasn’t in trouble. Just like when Sears or Woolworth left, he is confident that today’s management will attract successful new customers.
“Everything has been replaced by good quality tenants,” he said. “The same will happen now. It’s always a place full of energy and fun.
Kent Price, from Brothers Awardssent KSHB 41 a statement that read, “The Plaza area continues to be the crown jewel of real estate for the Kansas City metro area and we remain confident that it will become what it needs to become for the next generation, including entertainment, retail, and residential uses.
The Plaza has not commented on the mayor’s social media post, but recently announced new tenants including KC Sale Haus, The Shade Store, Pandora Jewelry, Psycho Bunny, Tirza Design, Lovesac, The Normal Brand, Pure Barre , Pilates Club, Ice Cream. Bae, Chiefs Fit and Puttery – a golf-inspired entertainment venue.
Any openings may be overshadowed by Nordstrom’s announcement it will not open in the plaza after developers demolished part of the old cinema to make way for the retail giant.
The KC Light Rail Extension will include a stop on the east side of the Plaza when completed in 2025.