Kevin Collison

Kevin Collison, a freelance contributor to KCUR 89.3, writes about downtown Kansas City for his website CityScene KC.

Ways to Connect

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City International Airport is broadening its horizons, hosting a community design meeting for the new terminal in Johnson County after all and stepping up efforts to attract international air service.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Mayor James came out swinging today against Republican tax reform proposals being considered in Washington, saying they would “cripple” vital city redevelopment and infrastructure efforts including the planned new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

“We need an agenda to revitalize and restore the infrastructure of our cities, not cripple future investment in our urban centers,” James said in a press release.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Sculptor Spencer Schubert has his works prominently displayed across the region from Manhattan to Jefferson City, and now wants to do something closer to home as a healing gesture for his community.

He’s proposing a soaring sculpture of two hands grasping a knotted rope as a sign of unity to replace a controversial Confederate memorial removed last August from the median of Ward Parkway at 55th Street.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

In a big breakthrough for downtown commuters, Missouri highway and Kansas City officials have come up with an interim repair plan that avoids closing the Buck O'Neil Bridge entirely and buys time for a hoped-for, permanent replacement.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

A. Zahner Co., a world-renowned, architectural metal fabrication firm, is practicing its creativity on its $5 million expansion project at its downtown headquarters and manufacturing facility at Eighth and The Paseo.

File Photo By Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The owner of The Kansas City Star has decided not to sell the newspaper’s massive green-glass production plant overlooking downtown after all.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

The congested bus transit center at 10th and Main is scheduled to be closed within two years, opening up space for a potential pocket park in the heart of downtown.

The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority plans to relocate the 1/2-acre transit center, currently a hub for 15 bus routes, to a new, larger site in the East Village area at the southeast corner of 12th and Charlotte.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

The historic Attucks School building in the 18th & Vine Jazz District won’t be reused as a school after all.

Instead, the city has chosen a proposal by two internationally-renowned artists based in Chicago to convert the old building at 1815 Woodland Ave. into a hub for arts and culture.

The Zhou Brothers, ShanZuo and DaHuang, plan to create a Kansas City version of their Zhou B Art Center in Chicago. The plan includes gallery and exhibition space, live-work space for artists and other arts-related uses.

Port KC

A proposed $30 million extension of the downtown streetcar to Kansas City's Berkley Riverfront could substantially boost development opportunities and allow people to live and visit there without cars, according to the leader of Port KC.

And Port KC, which receives a big part of its revenues from a long-term lease agreement with the Isle of Capri casino, plans to find ways to help fund the streetcar expansion “with or without” federal funding.

Kevin Collison / City Scene KC

Winslow’s BBQ, a City Market institution that traces its roots to the “roaring” River Quay days in 1971, is going out of business next month.

The barbecue joint and its 300-seat outdoor patio overlooking the City Market vendors has been a familiar fixture for generations, but that will all end Oct. 15, according to Deb Churchill, vice president and property manager for KC Commercial Realty Group which manages the market for the city.

Photo from restaurant Facebook Page

Cafe al Dente is closing after 17 years in the River Market, the first business to depart following the purchase of its building and others along Delaware Street by a Denver investor.

The Italian restaurant posted on its Facebook Page this week it was being “kicked out” of its space at 412 Delaware St., observing “the new building owner has decided we don’t meet his vision and will not renew our lease.”

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

Alexander Austin has worked on some big canvases as one of the city's preeminent street muralists, but the new assignment he's executing in the Power & Light District is taking him to an even higher level.

As in 80 feet above street level painting a mural over a half-football field long on the new 24-story Two Light apartment tower.

"It's the biggest I've ever done," says Austin, who began his mural career on Troost Avenue in the early 1990s as a homeless person. "To have Cordish show this much appreciation for me, I'm honored."

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

The North Loop freeway that divides the River Market from the rest of downtown won’t be going away anytime soon if the advice of a panel of national urban planning experts is followed.

Bottom line, there’s too much easily developable land already available downtown to make it cost effective to redevelop the North Loop corridor, concluded the group from the Urban Land Institute.

“Our panel believes now is not the optimal time to pursue redevelopment in that area,” says Glenda Hood, the chairwoman of the ULI panel and the former mayor of Orlando, Florida. 

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

The Crossroads Academy hopefully has found a new permanent home for its downtown high school, the long-vacant, historic Attucks School in the 18th & Vine Jazz District.

The charter school has submitted a bid to the city to buy the old building at 1815 Woodland Ave. If accepted, it could ultimately house 500 high school students attending the expanding Crossroads Academy program.

3D Development

The sale of The Kansas City Star building is expected to be completed Thursday, although the new owner has no immediate plans to redevelop the historic property at 1729 Grand Blvd.

“I’ve worked a little over a year on the transaction so I’m excited to complete the acquisition,” says Vince Bryant of 3-D Development.

“The good news is, it’s a big facility. We’re exploring possibilities as low volume as storage or a data center. On the big side would be higher end office.”

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Craig Slawson knows a lot about oil exploration, a business his family has been in for 60 years.

In that industry, when you find a "play," you’ve identified a geological region where conditions are ripe for discovering oil fields, lots of them.

Now that he’s expanded into real estate, the Denver-based founder of Epoch Developments believes he’s located a promising new "play" for that business in the River Market.

Foutch Brothers, LLC

The $39 million redevelopment of the former Kemper Arena into a amateur sports complex that's expected to draw a half million out-of-town visitors to the West Bottoms annually has cleared its last financial hurdle.

Wikimedia Commons/Kansas City Star

When it opened in 2006, The Kansas City Star Press Pavilion was hailed as a major contribution to the revitalization of downtown and the latest technology in the newspaper industry.

The striking 434,000-square-foot building clad in green glass and copper covered two city blocks, rising from four stories along 17th Street to its eight-story prow above the South Loop freeway.

Hyundai

In a weird mash-up, Hyundai is using the Kansas City skyline, with a few more buildings thrown in for good measure, in a national television commercial for its 2017 Sonata model.

The spot opens with heavy freeway traffic in the foreground but there’s no mistaking the core downtown skyline in the background: One Kansas City Place, the Town Pavilion, the Power & Light building, 1201 Walnut and Commerce Tower.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The Kansas City Star’s historic headquarters building at 1729 Grand Blvd. has been sold to a local developer who wants to redevelop the property as a first-class office project for up to 1,200 workers.

On Friday, The Star’s parent company, Sacramento-based McClatchy, announced it had sold the historic property and the 11-year-old Press Pavilion across McGee Street for a combined $42 million.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

A task force established by Gov. Greitens to examine state tax credit policy has returned with recommendations that preservationists say would substantially cut the historic tax credit program and make it much more difficult to utilize.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

Warren Erdman, the leader of the local effort to obtain state money for the proposed UMKC Downtown Campus for the Arts, warned Thursday that any alternative funding plan in response to the Gov. Eric Greitens’ veto last week should not place a “severe” strain on UMKC.

“The governor decided not to go in that direction, and the (state matching funding) tool is no longer in the tool box,” Erdman told a meeting of the Downtown Council board.

Kevin Collison / CityScene KC

City officials are working with a private developer to make the River Market an even more urban, mixed-use area by replacing three parking lots with a 400-space garage, and two apartment projects totaling more than 160 units.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

Apartment construction in metropolitan Kansas City is hitting levels not seen since before the Great Recession with more than 5,000 units expected to be completed by the end of this year.

Many of those projects are going up in downtown Kansas City and similar places such as old Overland Park, where developers say renters both young and old covet a walkable environment.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

Downtown Kansas City leads the nation these days reducing its office vacancy rate, but not because it’s returning to its heyday as the region’s business center.

The drop is primarily due to the conversion of many older, obsolete office buildings into apartments and hotels as downtown has transitioned to a mixed-use, "live, work and play" district in the 21st century.

A total of 1.7 million square feet of former office space has been converted to new uses over the past three years, according to CBRE Group, a national real estate firm.

Courtesy Opus Developement Group

New projects in the works for historic Westport are prompting a grassroots effort to survey the district’s buildings to help provide a solid planning base for future development decisions.

Plans for two apartment projects and a hotel are being reviewed at City Hall for a district that’s been popular destination since before Kansas City was born.

Courtesy BNIM

Plans for a new downtown YMCA, the latest on expanding the Kansas City streetcar and an update on the UMKC downtown arts campus were discussed by the Downtown Council of Kansas City Thursday.

YMCA could wrap fundraising this summer

Backers of a planned Downtown YMCA that would incorporate the facade of the historic Lyric Theater as part of the $30 million project hope to wrap up fundraising this summer.

Courtesy Block Real Estate Services

Construction on the first multi-tenant office tower to go up in the Country Club Plaza in more than a decade is expected to begin this summer following approval of final incentives.

The 14-story 46 Penn Centre project is planned for 46th Terrace and Pennsylvania Avenue just north of the Seventh Church of Christ, Scientist by Block Real Estate Services.

Kevin Collison / KCUR 89.3

It’s been 30 years since metropolitan Kansas City’s beltway, Interstate 435, was completed, and its important role as a route for economic development has been a tale of two states.

In southern Johnson County, where the first leg of I-435 opened between I-35 and Metcalf Avenue in 1965, smart planning by local and state leaders has made the I-435 corridor that area’s bustling main street.

Kevin Collison for KCUR

North Kansas City is opening a new “front door” on Armour Road, transforming land once dominated by massive flour mills into a mixed-use district that includes an $8 million jewelry store.

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