Glazer: Downtown KC is Becoming the New Westport

Downtown KC is on the upward move to be sure…

The apartments are on fire as far as rentals and prices have skyrocketed. Places that were $1000 a month are now $1500-$2000 for a nice one bedroom. Parking remains an issue though.

Stanford’s at 813 Walnut is on a nice street with condos, apartments, restaurants and many new businesses. Daytime traffic is brisk – not crazy – but double what it was a few years back.

There are now plenty of local bars and restaurants and new banks and financial institutions. Most of the new folks living downtown are younger and have moved to KC from area smaller cities to work here at the new financial businesses.

The new downtown crowd is mostly upper middle class and well behaved.

The streetcars are fairly busy, however with little tourist traffic they seem a bit over the top, mostly clogging up the already busy downtown streets.

And as usual, there’s way too much street work going on all the time which makes travel a bit tough.

The nightlife scene is better but pretty quiet after say 9 p.m.

And I notice that most of the bars and restaurants are not that busy even at lunch..most workers seem to opt for fast food and Starbucks while walking to and from work on their lunch hours.

Downtown still needs many more clothing stores, Qucktrips and gas stations. More grocery stores are badly needed as well. Parking has improved but is still an issue.

They need to make all on-street parking legal, as in no more tickets.

Like most of Kansas City, weeknight entertainment is slow for most locations.

People just are not out much after 8 pm anywhere except Westport and weekends at Power & Light.

Our comedy club action has been busy because we’re the only option and it has a neighborhood feel, more like Westport than Overland Park.

Crime is down for sure.

Police are on it.

Still there are lots of homeless folks looking for a place to park their bodies at night and early in the morning.

Less violent crime comes with a better group of folks living downtown.

Downtown still is dependant on special events at Sprint and Power & Light as well as the Midland for big traffic at night.

In many ways, downtown is becoming the new Westport.

Especially with the Plaza night traffic all but gone.

I now live on the Plaza and it is a shell of what it once was at night. On weeknights hardly any place is open after 9 pm…sad.

Plaza weekends are also slow…

The Plaza needs more late night entertainment. Overland Park has but a handful of late night busy bars these days – it’s a family dining out area that also closes at 9 pm for the most part.

Downtown has a bright future.

It’s still a bit on the dark side as far as beauty but that’s the big city look, I suppose.

I still think its 10 years away from being the hot area it wants to become.

Better late than never.

The apartments are hot, condos not so much.

One caveat: While Kansas City is on the move, we improve we need new business friendly laws to get places open.
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27 Responses to Glazer: Downtown KC is Becoming the New Westport

  1. Richard Cranium says:

    Here we go. “Please come to my newest failure. I promise it’ll be awesome. Cool people like me and will be around to congratulate me…..(though only cool in my mind). All the cool people live downtown or come downtown. They were cool when they came down off Metcalf, and they were cool when they were in Westport, and they were cool at the Legends, and they weren’t ever cool next door to Fuel, BUT they’re totally cool downtown now.


    • CG says:

      O.K. Dick and you have accomplished what? Oh nothing…and you hide behind a fake name….boy you are a real winner….wish I had your life…uh no I’ll take mine.

      • Richard Cranium says:

        Talk to me when you actually accomplish something. That doesn’t involve you going to jail, you peddling dope, or your old man setting you up only for you to fail REPEATEDLY at the same effort. You my friend, do not have a real grasp of what accomplishment is.

        • CG says:

          I was never ever arrested for peddling dope Dick, I was a sting artist and an outlaw, a famous one, lets see do I have to list all my credits for millionth time, uh no…book,movie deal on my life story, perhaps KC’s most written about private person ever, here and nationwide…I did do time and I deserved it for a sting against Columbian dealers who ended being the feds…I was brave enough to survive prison even though I had been a lawman and a person who stung drug dealers who are majority of inmates…STANFORDS IS THE MOST WRITTEN ABOUT TALKED ABOUT ENTERTAINMENT VENUE THAT HAS INTRODUCED MORE FILM,COMEDY AND TV STARS IN OUR CITIES HISTORY, BY ME…P.S. MY FATHER DID NOT GIVE ME THE CLUB WE BOUGHT FROM THE BANK IN 1990 AND TRIPLED ITS INCOME FOR 15 YEARS…AND IN THE BEGINNING I PUT IN MORE FUNDS TO OPEN THE CLUB WHICH I WAS PART OWNER THAN MY FATHER…looke Dick you need some help, you hate for no reason…see a doctor.

      • Boom Boom says:

        you’re an ex felon! I wouldn’t trade anyone’s life for yours.

  2. Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

    Downtown could really be in for a kick in the balls, with DST Systems Inc. being sold. It’ll most likely get broken up and sold off piece by piece and absorbed by other companies, who will close down the KC locations. DST has THOUSANDS of employees in the downtown area. I think they occupy close to 9 different buildings in the downtown area. It sucks, but that’s what happens when your C-Suite execs and company founders get lazy, rest on their laurels, get behind in technology and then parachute out when they can’t prop up the stock price artificially any longer.

  3. Rainbow Man says:

    Westport is unsafe after dark. The Plaza doesn’t want fun. Downtown is hot and happening.. from crossroads, p&l, north end, west bottoms.

  4. chuck says:

    The rent is too damn high!!!!!


    Nice article. Interesting.

    “I now live on the Plaza and it is a shell of what it once was at night. On weeknights hardly any place is open after 9 pm…sad.”

    What a mystery. I wonder what happened?

    • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

      Everyone knows what happened, but are too politically correct to say so out loud, or afraid of the social justice mob.

  5. boom boom says:

    any word on tj millers sexual assault charges? Saw it on tv last nite.

  6. Goose13 says:

    Things are changing. Walked through Oak Park Mall at dinner time yesterday. First time in a year. Could not believe how many empty store fronts.

    • CG says:

      The shopping mall biz is dying fast..everyone orders online…sad but true so Plaza, Oak Park and more are going out of biz as we knew them…so sad.

      • CG says:

        Places like downtown or even Plaza of course can work with more fast food, shoe stores like athletic gear, Quick trips and things that people use and need more often not the big box stores except for maybe a couple like a Dillards…

      • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

        Meh. Malls were ripoffs where the consumer paid the freight for the overpriced brick and mortar of the mall itself. Online shopping has made (or is in the process of making) brick and mortar stores obsolete. And with Amazon Prime? Free 2 day shipping.

  7. E.H. says:

    I know the anchors in a mall are very important but I think a lot of the fun of going to mall is gone because there’s no longer a B. Dalton’s, Waldenbooks, Video Concepts(just joking!), Babbages, Spencers, Suncoast Video, Video Arcade plus people really don’t go to the movies anymore.
    Really, when I look back to the 80’s you went to the mall because you were bored and you could at least see a movie, check out a couple of the above stores and get a slice of pizza at the food court. It was fun because you and your friends could get out of the house for a few hours. Heck, if you went alone the bookstores were fun because you could always rummage through some of the cool magazines at the newsstand like Heavy Metal, National Lampoon, Time, Newsweek, Hit Parader, Discover, Popular Science..
    Now when I think about going to the mall I think about Michaels and Bed, Bath, and Beyond and sporting goods stores with way overpriced crap like $130 running shoes that I’d never buy.
    Funny, I don’t think I ever bought anything at the mall in the 80’s except books/magz and pizza along with a movie ticket. Add Video Games(rarely) in the 90’s and that’s about it.

    • CG says:

      Well said E.H.

    • Guy Who Says What Others Think says:

      There was nothing better than an Aladdin’s Castle at the mall in the 1980’s. Malls were great back then, for the reasons you mentioned above. Bannister Mall was awesome back in the day. A person could spend all day in there. But then the criminal/thug/gang element invaded, and drove all the paying customers away. Bannister died. Then Blue Ridge died. Metro North Mall held on desperately, but was pretty much a graveyard after 1997.

  8. E.H. says:

    I guess ultimately the whole idea of the mall was a failure. You could go there and have a lot of fun without spending money on their overpriced crap. Young people had fun by going there and “hanging out”, for hours and then go see a movie before going home. I remember me and my friend would skip going to Bannister mall and just go to the movie theater across the street(AMC Bannister Square 6?), there was even a restaurant or Godfather’s pizza place that shared the same parking lot as the theater. Anyway, we’d eat a pizza and see a movie or two and go home without even going to mall. When we did go to the mall we’d have fun by doing the “escalator trick” on shoppers, that was always a hoot!

  9. Boom Boom says:

    retail armageddon is happening. Why go shopping…call or click it in.
    Grubhub will put most restaurants out of sit down business.
    Trump is taking away tip from servers and bartenders with his new law.
    Nothing will be left.
    Once downtown reaches it’s limits and the surrounding areas are taken over
    by bad elements that to will go down.
    Watch st. louis…its a pre cursor to what will happen in kc.

  10. RickM says:

    So the Blind Tiger has closed. Anyone know why or if it’s been relocated?

    And the Foundry in Westport is turning into a seafood place next month. Is there really that much demand for seafood in Westport or is this a desperation ploy?

    • CG says:

      Rick not sure what the deal is with the Foundry…but James Westfall the owner of that and four other locations in Westport along with Bill Nigro and the upgraded Kelly’s saved Westport…James is the restaurant guru of KC today…no doubt and restaurant man of the year…hey the food industry is in tough times at most locations.

  11. Josephat Benson says:

    Wow an impressive line up of three open mic’s and who is this comedian’s at Stanfords. Sean Brennan’s first hit is from myspace. hahahahaha

    • CG says:

      WEll we give area talent a chance to move up, always have including, Steve Kramer, Larry the Cable Guy, Lewis Black, Louie Anderson,Sinbad…tons more see how that works troll. By the way our weekends have sold out 6 weeks in a row…standing ovations for some acts…happy to help out young comics that have talent like Sean.

      • CG says:

        P.S. we will have Kevin Farley in April for you big time guy…star of STILL THE KING, I AM CHRIS FARLEY, SAT LIVE ETC…SO YOU CAN SEE THE BIG NAMES TOO…HAPPY

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