It’s finally going to happen…
At long last, Westport’s last black dance club is poised to bite the dust. That doesn’t mean there won’t be any urban crowds coming into the area, there just won’t be a "home" base for that group to rally around.
The $64 million question: How Much Will This Change Westport?
Unfortunately, in the short term, very little.
The damage has been done. Now Westport must do the little things to move forward and restore its tarnished image. With leadership from both Bill Nigro and the Kellys this could happen. Clearly those two factions must get on the same page. And I think they can. Nigro has been the voice of Westport for nearly a decade since I left the scene in 2003. And make no mistake, he wants only what’s best for the neighborhood. So do the Kellys. They just need to join firces and work together in a better way.
In the long run Westport needs to be redone.
It needs lots of new news! New bars and restaurants, even a store or three. Some mid level hotels would be nice. It’s still a great location in midtown, it just needs some attention. I’ve said this before. In my opinion Nigro and the Kellys need to find a corporate partner to help redo the entertainment district. Like Red Development with Dan Lowe, or maybe Block & Company with David Block. To do this they’ll need to meet and find common ground on the "how to do it board."
Fortunately, the days of hip hop are drawing to an end.
Music is not the force in the club biz it’s been the last 60 years. Sad to say. There are no big time nightclubs in the city and really very few in America today. The bar biz is now more about restaurant bars, smaller neighborhood spots, even a well disguised sports bar or two.
I like what re Verse has become on the Plaza, that should work.
Westport needs more of this movement. James Westfall did a kickass job with McCoy‘s and his other two spots in Westport. Harry’s needs a face lift. Kelly’s added a deck, nice. And for the first time I hear their radio ads on 610 Sports, good move. I like that it’s their daughter who says it’s the 4th generation of Kellys. Something new and upbeat. It works.
Like Hearne said the other day, nobody in Westport ever planned a black dance club, they just happened.
Stanford’s opened its dance floor in 1993 for KU/MU students. At the time the hot hip-hop era was in full swing. And the hood people ran off the white guys and took the club over. That’s how that works. Same happened to other Westport spots like the Brew Pub and Harris House.
Shortly after comes the violence.
It’s a 100 % sure thing. Yes, older urban crowds behave very well. There just aren’t many of those spots around town. And rarely do you get a comfortable mix of blacks and whites, FireFly has that a bit now, with a cleancut white and urban crowd dancing to oldies. It works. But that sort of scene is rare and hard to maintain.
Westport is still a viable area if its leadership can help build it back.
With the general failure of Power & Light it can happen. Yes, P&L is a total failure.
Nothing new of importance will go in there and nobody lives downtown. It was all a bullcrap lie in the first place.
I know the arena at times does well, but time will not be kind to the Sprint Center. There is zero weeknight business and still no shops or stores to speak of. Not even a QuickTrip and that speaks volumes.
It’s still a grey, downbeat look except for the front and sides of P&L which is just a bar area on weekends. Nothing more.
There was no real redoing of downtown.
Zero shopping outside the grocery store, a Sprint store and men’s suits. And hardly anybody really moved down there. And stayed. If you think so, go see how much those "loft condos" are going for. There are plenty to choose from. Yes, some of it was the economy, no doubt, but it never really got off the ground.
I hope Westport gets another shot at being a fun entertainment zone. If all those folks will work together and find a corporate partner it can still make a big comeback.
So yes, there is hope for a better life after America’s Pub.