Not so long ago, the thought of interracial dating terrorized a great many folks. In Arizona, so many Mexicans has sparked people to throw out the Bill Of Rights and endorse a police state in order to save residents from Day Laborers. The thought of African-American young people using technology to organize has to be a big part of Plaza panic especially when a few Saturday night fights are thrown into the equation.
In addition to all of this there’s always the long-term threat of demographic shifts that keep real estate agents in business and homeowner nervous.
Let’s start with the fact that, other than Oak Park Mall, indoor shopping centers have always been a tricky business in the metro. And then let’s finally acknowledge that lots of people in this town get scared when a mall “goes Black.” There have been many anonymous Internet blog hints which use scare tactics and claim that Independence Center is on its way to becoming “The New Bannister Mall.” But over the past few years traffic at the mall has held up. Likewise, it’s continually feared that Ward Parkway will go the way of the now nearly abandoned Landing Mall.
On this subject there is hope.
Back in the days of massive white flight The Landing was simply out of luck with it’s Troost Location. When the middle-class white people fled Kansas City en masse because of the end of segregation Troost was the defacto dividing line and The Landing was simply on the “wrong side” of town. The mall held on for a while and when I was a kid, the African-American community still used to shop there . . . Now it’s pretty much a tomb.
Similarly, Ward Parkway will probably never revive its past history but a close proximity to Leawood and JoCo somehow manages to keep the retail location kicking. Sure, it’s not quite a hotbed of economic activity but the place has survived panic over African-American kids congregating to see movies (gasp) and even the rampage of a deranged guy with a gun. And still, there’s a nice mix of people at the place, The Target holds on to some decent foot traffic and for the moment, just most people during this Great Recession, the place could be doing better but is still chugging along.
Therefore, what we can infer from this bit of retail analysis is that homogeneous retail options never last but diverse populations of potential buyers can endure even during the worst of circumstances.