It’s never been a better time for businesses in Downtown Kansas City, shared Mike Klamm.
“A lot of us are Kansas City natives, and if you’re not excited about where we are right now, I do think you need to have your pulse checked,” said Klamm, chair of the Downtown Council board and senior vice president at CBRE at this week’s Downtown Kansas City Office Summit.
Downtown provides an appealing environment for businesses seeking a thriving location that will help them build culture and attract and retain the best talent, he continued.
“It endures as the region’s largest employment center and fastest growing residential neighborhood in the area,” he explained. “Downtown benefits from a substantial volume of housing intermixed with offices, health care, education, a strong convention and tourism business, and a vibrant art scene, as well as award winning restaurants.”
Klamm said downtown also endures as the most concentrated node for economic activity.
“Thirty-five percent of employees work in the downtown environment,” he added. “As a major employment center, downtown’s success is directly linked to our surrounding diverse neighborhoods as one interconnected whole.”
Over the past year, he said, three major developments have gotten his pride and excitement for the future of downtown building.
Potential Royals ballpark district
East Village in downtown is one of two sites — the other in North Kansas City — the Kansas City Royals ball club is still waffling between for its planned $2 billion ballpark entertainment district.
“Obviously, the potential for having a baseball park and district downtown is huge,” Klamm noted.
The proposed district would cover 27 acres, from 8th Street in the north to 12th Street in the south, and Charlotte Street in the east to Cherry Street in the west.
Site renderings include a pedestrian bridge above the highway to funnel people from Paseo Boulevard to the stadium, a hotel and conference venue and an event plaza.
Team representatives said in August that the East Village site would focus more on attracting local businesses and restaurants to create an entertainment district that operates year-round, including a “Cherry Street experience” made up of retail development and local restaurants, according to KCUR.
South Loop Project
The proposed South Loop Link project is a sustainable urban park that will extend over the 5.5 acre stretch of I-670 from Wyandotte Street to Grand Boulevard and will link the Central Business District to the Crossroads Arts District.
The project — a collaborative effort led by the Downtown Council, Port KC, and the City of KCMO — is expected to feature an open green lawn, public art, outdoor seating with shade structures, and could include playgrounds, dog parks, and arts and amphitheater programming, according to organizers.
“I think the South Loop link is going to be a transitional thing for both the Crossroads and Downtown,” Klamm said.
Organizers have arranged $90 million to date for the $200 million-plus project and are hoping to have it completed by the 2026 World Cup, according to reporting published by Flatland and CityScene KC.
“The Greenline will be a thread that truly links all the neighborhoods in and around Downtown,” Klamm noted.
Check out a brief photo gallery below from this week’s Downtown Kansas City Office Summit. The event focused on what Kansas City must do to attract the next generation of employees – discussing the environment and amenities that appeal to them, both inside and outside of the workplace.