Country Club Plaza

Cody Newill / KCUR

For the fourth year in a row, Kansas City officials are pushing for teens and young adults to join Mayor Sly James' Club KC and Mayor's Nights events during the summer.

The initiative is meant to keep kids from causing trouble at places like the Plaza by hosting parties and sports tournaments at various community centers across the city.

Mayor James and several city council members were on the Plaza Saturday handing out fliers for the programs. James says that attendance is expected to match last year, which means less problems for law enforcement.

Highwoods Properties

When the Country Club Plaza's traditional holiday light display is switched on this Thanksgiving, nearly 85 percent of the bulbs will be new LEDs. 

LEDs typically cost more up front than regular incandescent bulbs, but they also consume anywhere from one-twentieth to one-tenth of the energy.

Gayle Terry, spokeswoman for Highwoods Properties, the company that owns the Plaza, said that the transition to LEDs was long expected.

The World's Work / Wikimedia Commons

One of the names most closely associated with Kansas City is J.C. Nichols-- for good or bad. 

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about this creator of the Country Club Plaza and what his critics say about him. We also examine what the city gained – and some say lost – due to the efforts of this one man.

Guest:

Courtesy: Hoefer Wysocki Architecture

A Kansas City council committee approved zoning changes for a 14-story office tower on the north edge of the Country Club Plaza on Wednesday. There appears to be no organized effort to stop its construction.

In recent years, plans for a North-Plaza law office high-rise and a luxury hotel were derailed by opposition. But this time there is no business opposition and Dan Cofran of Friends of the Plaza says his group does not want to stop or delay the Block Real Estate project.

Photo courtesy of Charvex.

It’s not a new problem in Kansas City: Large groups of teens flock to the Plaza on summer weekends, and they don’t always follow the rules. 

Kansas City Police Department Central Patrol Operations Sgt. Greg Williams says the plan this summer is to take a harder line if teens are violating any city ordinances.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

One year ago, many Kansas Citians knew about a natural gas explosion at JJ’s Restaurant before news outlets began to report the story.

Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of the blast that hundreds of Kansas Citians saw firsthand or felt on the Country Club Plaza.  

We wanted to know more about what you remembered from that evening.

Heather Cowper / Flickr - CC

General Manager, Robert Leyva, talks about the opening of luxury hotel, Hotel Sorella, job creation, and the development of the West Edge area. 

Crime rates have been dropping from downtown Kansas City south to Brush Creek, but a rise in auto theft has been bothering police.

There have been three fewer homicides in 2013, as compared to last year at this time, and a 10 percent reduction in violent assaults. This is good news to Major Shawn Wadle, but his Central Patrol Division can’t escape a trend of a 17 percent rise in auto thefts in the last two months.

Two Are Charged In Murder Of UMKC Student

Mar 27, 2013

A bond of half a million dollars is holding each of two men charged today in the murder of a University of Missouri-Kansas City  student at a near-campus house just south of  Country Club Plaza. 

Allegations point to a robbery gone awry.

20-year-old Alonzo Ruff and 21-year-old Anthony Williams were looking for a place to rob March 21st, according to court documents. 

They allegedly picked the house near 49th and Brookside Boulevard because one of the men charged had once smoked marijuana there.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

A trenching contractor that purportedly cut a gas line before last week’s deadly Country Club Plaza explosion had not been allowed to dig in the area.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Judging by the lineup at the bar a few blocks from JJ’s last night, you might think you were at the longtime establishment. A lot of employees and regulars met up at Coal Vines on the Plaza, including James Potter.

howstuffworks.com

Tuesday evening’s tragic explosion and fire on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City may have some asking basic questions about gas leaks.

Here’s a brief primer:

How do I know if I have a gas leak?

  • If it’s a natural gas leak, you will smell it.

It’s an unpleasant smell, like rotten eggs.

Natural gas goes through a lot of processing before it can be used as fuel.

After all the other chemicals are taken out, what’s left is methane.

Jeffrey Harvey / KCUR

The circumstances surrounding Tuesday's natural gas explosion just west of the Country Club Plaza - that killed one person, injured more than a dozen, and destroyed JJ's restaurant - were discussed in an afternoon press conference.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

Ambulances on Tuesday night traveled with nine people injured in the explosion and fire on the Country Club Plaza to area hospitals, including St. Luke's and University of Kansas Hospital. Six injured patients walked themselves in. Officials today provided an update on the six victims still hospitalized.

Elana Gordon / KCUR

The best eye-witnesses to the explosion at JJ’s yesterday were also the people who were in the most danger – the restaurant’s workers. Bartenders, busboys, a hostess and others were the last ones out of that burning building.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Workers using heavy equipment to install fiber-optic cable hit a gas main hours before the blast.   According to the Kansas City Business Journal, gas company workers showed up about 20 minutes later.

They were still on site later when firefighters responded to the leak, about 45 minutes before the explosion. 

Body Found In Rubble At JJ's

Feb 20, 2013
Mayor Sly James

At a press conference this morning, officials say they found a body in the rubble of the site of former JJ's restaurant on the Country Club Plaza. No positive identification has been made yet.

Laura Spencer / KCUR

One person still remains unaccounted for after last night's fire and explosion at JJ's restaurant on the Country Club Plaza.

Explosion At JJ's Thundered Through Plaza

Feb 20, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

At least one explosion thundered through the west edge of the County Club Plaza district  just after 6 p.m. Tuesday, sending more than a dozen people to hospitals. Some are critically injured. There was ample evidence pointing to natural gas as cause.

Two hours after fire took what was left of the explosion-ripped building, the smell of  gas was rich in the nostrils. As many as five hours before the explosion tore apart JJ’s Restaurant, there were accounts of people smelling natural gas in the area, around and to the east of the popular gathering spot.

Fire Hits Plaza Business

Feb 19, 2013
KMBC, TV-9 News

A fire caused by an apparent gas explosion near JJ's Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza has sent at least 14 people to area hospitals with injuries, some of them critical. The fire started around 6:00 Tuesday evening.  

Update 7:07 PM.  Residents from a nearby apartment building were evacuated.  Some are reporting that there was a strong smell of gas earlier in the afternoon. One resident of the nearby building also told reporters someone was operating a backhoe in the area earlier in the afternoon. 

Corner To Corner Pt. I - The Plaza

Jan 2, 2013

Getting to know Kansas City, one neighborhood at a time.

www.kcvocals.com / Shanice and Maurice Hayes

Kansas City’s own father-daughter singing duo, Maurice and Shanice Hayes, are competing in NBC’s national talent competition, America’s Got Talent, for a $1 million prize. 

Plaza Lease Cements Long Term Ties

Jan 30, 2012

There is no guarantee of additional jobs, but owners of the Country Club Plaza District are assured the largest tenant of the Valencia Place Office Tower will be in the picture until February 2030.

A requested tax break for the reborn effort to develop the Plaza West Edge project breezed through a joint city council committee Wednesday.

courtesy of Starker's Restaurant

John McClure, the owner and executive chef at Starker's Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza, has died. McClure was 35.

Kansas City, Mo. – John McClure, the owner and executive chef at Starker's Restaurant on the Country Club Plaza, has died. McClure was 35.

According to The Pitch's Fat City blog, McClure was found dead in his home Wednesday morning.

courtesy of Safdie Architects

There are two Moshe Safdie-designed projects in Kansas City: the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, slated to open September 16th; and West Edge, an office and hotel complex near the Country Club Plaza that's been plagued with problems. A construction dispute, bankruptcy, and changes in ownership stalled the project for nearly three years.

Creative Commons photo via <a href=\"http://www.flickr.com/people/27150851@N02/\">Bhanu Tadinada</a> on Flickr.

Kansas City, MO – The Country Club Plaza has seen plenty of changes its nearly ninety years, but none of have sparked as much public passion as the recent announcement of new building plans by the law firm of Polsinelli Shughart. On August 19th, Plaza owner Highwoods Properties announced it would demolish the Balcony Building on the corner of 47th Street and Broadway to build an eight-story, glass office building.

Classic Jewel Heist

Sep 7, 2010

Kansas City, MO – While most Kansas Citians spent their 3-day holiday relaxing, one or more were working at burrowing through a wall of concrete and steel on the Country Club Plaza.

There is no quiet way to chop through a concrete wall, yet no one seemed to take notice in overnight hours of Sunday to Monday at 48th and Jefferson. Burglars were cutting a 4-by-3-foot opening in the outside wall of Vinca Jewelry.

Revised architectural rendering presented by Polsinelli Shugart law firm.

Kansas City, MO – The historic Plaza "Balcony Building" at 47th and Broadway survives in a new design presented at this afternoon's city council business session. Spencer Thompson of the Polsinelli-Shughart law firm which is to occupy the building explained the new plan.

Thompson said the final design will incorporate as much of the original architecture and Plaza streetscape as possible, and definitely will include the Spanish-style, red-tile roofed tower.

Photo courtesy of Country Club Plaza Association.

Kansas City, Mo. – A clearer picture of Saturday night's "flash mob" conflicts on the Plaza emerged in a city council committee meeting Wednesday. But it was also a meeting with conflicts of its own.

Most of the 900 or so young people police dispersed from the upscale shopping area were 16 or under. Many arrived by bus. Only a few, mostly among the older youths, were involved in fights.

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