In the 60’s the Plaza ruled…
Even though the beautiful, midtown shopping and entertainment district had been around for decades, it hit its stride in the ’60’s. Before that Downtown still was the "it" place in the metro.
But over the last five to 10 years the Plaza has lost many of its visitors, big name local shops and restaurants.
The Plaza started going national with corporate chains in the late 90’s. Since then it’s the moved away from night life and entertainment. For the most part there are no longer any nightclubs on the Plaza. So it’s definitely at bit more, well, quiet.
So whats next for our city?
In the early 2000’s someone had the idea of Kansas City, Kansas going big time.
Really, come on now. With just 13 restaurants and shops in 2005, led by Cheeseburger in Paradise and Famous Dave’s the unthinkable began. Today there are more than 100 shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in the Village West area, including Legends, a major NASCAR track, a new MLS soccer stadium that will house Sporting Kansas City, a new casino to be named Hollywood Casino, T-Bones baseball stadium, a budding water park, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Cabelas, with more on the way all the time.
Checking aroubnd, I can’t find anything like it in the nation that has all these venues in a single spot.
It’s quite unique.
And this week Legends announced the new Saks Fifth Avenue, new J. Crew Factory and Armour Factory House all coming to Legends this year. All for the upscale Outlet Destination center. Already here are Nike, Brooks Brothers, Tommy Hilfiger, Banana Republic, BCBGMAXAZRIA and LOFT. Opening in June are Chico’s and Soma Intimates outlet concepts. They join others like American Eagle and Old Navy.
It’s a long list.
You know that old line, "If You build it, will they come?"
With hundreds of millions of dollars spent and more being paid out for new concepts, the answer is YES.
Amy Craft, the five year leader in marketing Legends/Village West says: "It used to be people had to fight the idea of driving out to this area. They weren’t used to it, a new direction for new places. Today it is more in their heads that it’s worth the drive and even the four bucks a gallon gas. Why? Saving money on great products and enjoying fun family and adult entertainment. This is Kansas City’s immediate future."
There are plans for bigger name hotels, apartment complexes and housing.
Cerner is moving into the area with 4,000 employees. They’ll need housing. So will all the new employees coming into the area. And an airport may well be built in the area by 2015.
There’s no doubt this is the city’s next big step into the future.
It’s been a battle, with the economy and location being so new and raw. But one that looks to be a winner over the next couple years.
There are huge concerts and events happening this summer as well. From EMINEM to WILLIE NELSON. All coming to the Village West area. Who would have thought this possible just 10 years ago even? I didn’t.
Oh yeah, Stanford & Sons is in Legends. They got me. Maybe that’s a good thing.