Sure, there’s an event at the Sprint Center that provides the illusion of density or a productive development but for the most part inside the loop is still a wasteland after 5 in the PM.
Proof: I was just walking downtown and noticed more homeless people than the desired demographic from Johnson County. And let’s face it, with every year that goes by the P&L District is much further away from paying back that multimillion dollar subsidy from KC Proper that some politicos have described as toxic.
As always there are very real reasons behind this failure that nobody wants to take the blame for. Let’s look at just a few:
1. Kansas City Party People Are Fickle. Sure, the P&L District was the place to be for its first year and even the second. But over the long term just about every party district in KC has experienced a rise and fall. From Westport to the River Key. Local party people move on to the next hotspot in a moment’s notice. Look for upcoming developments in the suburbs to attract the crowds within the next year.
2. Corporate fare just isn’t as fun. To their credit, the P&L District is working on attracting more local vendors and establishments. But the place has already been branded as a corporate hangout and they’ll have to work hard to change that image.
3. The racial ruckus over the dress code didn’t help. Like it or not, most people don’t want to feel like d-bag elitists when they hang out. And the struggle over diversity and under the table worries about the racial composition of the crowd in a downtown venue made for a tense opening. The place is just now starting to recover.
4. Lack of a Sprint Center anchor tenant has hurt The P&L District. If leaders in Kansas City would have been able to deliver on their promise to attract a pro-sports team to Kansas City then Kansas City’s premiere downtown party district would have done better out of the gate. Sadly, as time goes by the arena and the District just get older and the odds of landing a team which would provide a lucrative crowd on several nights throughout the week is nothing more than a pipe dream.
5. Expensive beer. If Wesport survives it’s because the beer is cheap. We’re in Kansas City and many a club owner has failed to realize that cheap beer is what drives a crowd with working class or backwoods roots. No matter the upscale aspirations of any party zone. Cheap beer will always move the crowd in Kansas City. The P&L District inability to recognize this homespun fact is to their detriment.
For these reasons and many more (along with the cold), the crowds at P&L aren’t what they should be during the winter work week. And once again Kansas City’s Renaissance seems like yet another scheme developed by politicos with little experience in the business world.