Local retail icon Halls has announced it plans to close its Country Club Plaza store, coinciding with expansion at Crown Center.
The expansion, which Crown Center President Bill Lucas called “the latest step in Crown Center’s evolution” in a statement released Tuesday, includes a new 60,000 square-foot store that will take up the entire third floor of the Crown Center Shops.
The $10 million project will be managed by Illinois-based retail design firm Charles Sparks + Company.
“It is exhilarating to be part of the ongoing revitalization of Crown Center,” Halls President Kelly Cole said in a statement.
Construction will begin on the new Crown Center location early next year, and is expected to open in September 2014. The Plaza location will close at that time.
The store’s closure has drawn concern from some community members who worry about the makeup of the shopping district’s retailers, noting that the number of local firms in the district has dwindled in recent years.
“In talking to local residents, and business owners, even tourism proponents in Kansas City, there is a desire among Kansas Citians to maintain locally owned businesses,” says Jacob Wagner, president of the Historic Kansas City Foundation, and vice president of the group Friends of the Plaza.
Friends of the Plaza advocates that development in the district be done in a way that preserves the area’s unique architecture and character.
“Obviously we’re concerned for the direction of any redevelopment on the Plaza, especially in the historic core,” he said. “Any redevelopment that would occur needs to follow the Plaza Plan, and that would definitely require height restrictions on that site.”
Wagner, a professor of urban planning at UMKC, expected the Halls building to be an area for potential redevelopment.
“I think that the ideal situation is that [the Halls building] a locally-owned business remains in the existing building,” he added. “And if that can’t occur, then it should be a tenant that can actively use the building as it currently exists, as it fits the content and the character of the Plaza.”