2017 Urban Heroes to be honored at special event

The 2016 Urban Heroes will welcome the 2017 award winners at a special reception on Jan. 24. The 2016 honorees included, from left, Deb Churchill, The City Market; Andrew Bracker, City of Kansas City; Julie Nelson Meers, mobank; Vince Bryant, 3D Development; and Matt Staub, KC Streetcar advocate.

The Downtown Council – in preparation for its Annual Luncheon next month – will honor four community champions with Urban Hero status during a very special event next month.

Make plans to join us at the Urban Hero Reception from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 24 at Suitable Technologies Inc., 1200 Main St., Suite 4200. Our Urban Heroes are passionate about making Downtown Kansas City a more vibrant place to live, work and play. Light hor d’oeuvres and beverages will be provided.

2017 Urban Hero Honorees:

Tickets are $20 each, and you may purchase tickets at https://2018urbanhero.eventbrite.com. DTC Annual Luncheon sponsors may receive complimentary tickets as part of their sponsorship package.  Contact Ashley Broockerd to make your reservation, abroockerd@evenergy.com.

In addition, don’t forget to join us at the Annual Luncheon at 11 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 26. Reserve your sponsorship and or purchase tickets at www.downtownkc.org/annual-luncheon/registration/.


Luncheon to focus on Downtown as a Smart City

Downtown Kansas City and its evolving place in the global Smart City stratosphere will be the focus of the Downtown Council’s Annual Luncheon on Friday, Jan. 26, in the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center.

An estimated 1,000 DTC members and stakeholders, will gather for the 2018 Annual Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The event serves as a celebration of the accomplishments and trajectory of Downtown Kansas City of the past year and decade. Click here to reserve your table or tickets.

TJ Costello, Cisco, will serve as the keynote speaker.

Smart City is the theme of the 2018 Downtown Council Annual LuncheonSmart Cities are about people… and tools… and data… and analysis… and leveraging them in order to improve the citizen experience and to predict future needs.

Kansas City’s Smart City Initiative began when the City of Kansas City leveraged a complex capital project – the introduction of the KC Streetcar – and added advanced technological capabilities. That transformed simple transportation into a multi-functional data collection and analysis platform, which is revolutionizing the way it manages operations.

The KC Smart City infrastructure features an extensive, coordinated suite of connective Wi-Fi technology and analytical platforms along the 51-block streetcar corridor on Main Street to improve delivery of city services.

Currently, Downtown’s 51 square blocks are “smart.” The City is working to expand these capabilities to all 325 square miles of Kansas City, Missouri. This is one of the most connected cities in the country with more than 5.5 million miles of fiber. KC is also a leader in digital inclusion, increasing the entire community’s computer literacy. The City’s digital capacity is also supporting numerous high-tech start-up companies.

The objective of the Smart Cities initiative is to enable Kansas City to be the smartest city in North America within five years and remain among the thought leaders for Smart City efforts around the world.

Keynote speaker, T.J. Costello, Director of Smart Cities and IoT – Americas at Cisco, will share how Downtown KC might just be the smartest place in the country, which creates a crystal clear competitive advantage for Kansas City regionally, nationally and globally.

Costello is responsible for Cisco’s Smart Cities go-to-market strategy for the Americas. His team focuses on building economic, social and environmental sustainability for cities through the use of technology.

2017 Downtown Council Annual Luncheon

Luncheon Highlights:

Our honorary co-chairs are Steve McDowell, Design Director, BNIM Architects and Irv Hockaday, retired President and CEO, Hallmark Cards Inc., past President and CEO, Kansas City Southern. Planning chairs are Nate Orr, Partner, Spencer Fane and Cathy Smith, Vice President of Corporate Planning, Faultless Starch/Bon Ami.

We hope you will join us at the luncheon. Click here to reserve your table or individual tickets. Contact Ann Holliday, ann@downtownkc.org, or Ashley Broockerd, abroockerd@evenergy.com, for more information.

Downtown convention hotel to break ground next month

The Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel, KCMO’s first new convention hotel in over three decades, is expected to break ground in January 2018.

The long-anticipated convention center hotel in Downtown KC is set to open in March 2020, placing a modern, 23-story, 800-room luxury structure across from Bartle Hall.

Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel is due to break ground in January 2018. The project site is bounded by Truman Road on the north, Baltimore Avenue on the east, 16th Street on the south, and Wyandotte Street on the west and is located in within the Truman & Wyandotte Urban Renewal Area.

The $322 venture will feature an upscale restaurant, bar and lounge areas as well as associated retail. There also will be a two-story meeting space above three levels of parking, with an elevated walkway over Wyandotte Street that connects the hotel with the Bartle Hall Convention Center. The City of Kansas City, Missouri, is committed to this investment since it is expected to significantly increase economic development, in turn benefiting the entire city.

The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) and the Tax Increment Financing Commission (TIFC) recently granted Loews final approval for tax breaks for the project, which is being financed by a $110 million construction loan from Wells Fargo Bank, $79 million in revenue from bonds to be sold by the LCRA and the TIFC, and a $32 million bank loan secured by catering revenue. Private investors will contribute $59.6 million.

The City has committed $35 million in cash, which will be paid from the existing Convention & Tourism sales tax. The City also is contributing $7 million, which is the value of the land owned by City at the hotel site. The City has kept its promise to not commit or risk any General Fund revenues for this project.

The City’s website has been updated with additional information and documentation for those who want more details on the project.

Rock the Red Kettle concert to light up KC on Dec. 1

Rock the Red Kettle – featuring alternative rock band Switchfoot and pop rock band Parachute – will kickoff the holiday entertainment season in Downtown KC at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 1 in the Kansas City Power & Light District.

The free community concert is presented by the Salvation Army of Kansas and Western Missouri, in partnership with the Downtown Council of Kansas City, The Cordish Companies and Commerce Bank. This will be the second annual RTRK concert in Downtown Kansas City.

Commerce Bank is this year’s Rock the Red Kettle premier sponsor. Kevin Barth, executive vice president, Commercial Line of Business, Commerce Bancshares, Inc. , is serving as honorary chair for the event and for the city-wide Christmas Campaign, which will run through Christmas Eve.

“Commerce Bank is proud to support Kansas City’s Christmas concert, and our entire team looks forward to the Rock the Red Kettle concert to kick-off the holiday season,” Barth said.

“The Salvation Army plays a huge role in helping our Kansas City neighbors in need, whether it’s putting food on a family’s dinner table or a roof over a man’s head for the night, and we hope to help bring the community together for this great event while also bringing in donations to the red kettles this holiday season.”

Donations are welcomed at the event, by way of red kettles which will be stationed at the Power & Light District entrances. Funds raised at Rock the Red Kettle support many of The Salvation Army programs and services throughout the year, including food assistance, emergency rent and utility assistance, necessities at the Children’s Shelter for abused and neglected children, alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs, senior citizens’ programs, homeless shelters and transitional housing for veterans.

Rock the Red Kettle is a featured highlight of the Downtown Dazzle festivities which celebrate all of the holiday arts and cultural events and happenings in Downtown KC from today (Nov. 24) through Jan. 1.

“We’re excited to bring Rock the Red Kettle back to Kansas City again this year, after a very successful and enjoyable event last Christmas” said Salvation Army Divisional Secretary Major David Harvey. “Kansas City is such a giving community, and we hope to provide a fun and joyful experience to the community at this year’s Rock the Red Kettle concert to inspire and activate the giving spirit heading into the holiday season.”

Attendees are encouraged to arrive early to the Rock the Red Kettle celebration next Friday. For more information,  visit rockredkettlekc.com.

About The Salvation Army of Kansas and Western Missouri

The Salvation Army of Kansas and Western Missouri is and evangelical part of the universal Christian church established in 1865, supporting those in need in His name without discrimination. The organization provides assistance through a broad array of social services ranging from food for the hungry, relief for disaster victims, assistance for the disabled, outreach to the elderly and ill, clothing and shelter to the homeless and opportunities for underprivileged children. For more information about the Kansas and Western Missouri Division of The Salvation Army, visit salarmymokan.org.


Design community to share insights on Orchestrated Urbanism

The Center for Architecture & Design will present a thought-provoking program on Orchestrated Urbanism:  The Race-Built City next Wednesday, Nov. 29 at AIA Kansas City. Tickets are still available, but it is nearly a sell-out. See below for registration details.

The program stems from research conducted by Tyler Cukar, a New York architect and urban designer. Cukar has researched Kansas City and the damaging role that racial covenants, red-lining, school desegregation and finally, urban renewal played in shaping not only our cities but also our social understandings of the communities.

Cukar, a Parkville native who currently works at FXFOWLE in New York City, will be joined by Kate Collignon, a partner at HR&A Advisors in New York, and Gwendolyn Grant, president & CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City.

“This is a timely topic that both impacts and resonates with the design community,” said Dawn Taylor, executive director of AIA Kansas City. “This topic is challenging, but we believe our audience will bring thoughtful approaches to this difficult context. We envision a high-caliber discussion and impactful experience for our audience.”

Orchestrated Urbanism:  The Race-Built City will be presented from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 29 at the Center for Architecture & Design, 1801 McGee St. Tickets are $20 for the general public, and $10 for Center members and students. Tickets are nearly sold out, but remaining seats are available here.


Downtown Council to honor Hall family, Hallmark Cards, Crown Center

Al Mauro, Jr. (center) received the Downtown Council’s highest honor, the J. Philip Kirk, Jr. Award, early this year. The 2016 award was presented by Pat Ottensmeyer of Kansas City Southern (left) and Steve Dunn of J.E. Dunn Construction.

The Downtown Council of Kansas City has chosen the Hall family, along with Hallmark Cards and Crown Center, to receive the 2017 J. Philip Kirk, Jr. Award early next year in recognition of community vision and downtown stewardship.

The award will be presented at the DTC Annual Luncheon on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 in the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center before an audience of more than 1,000 community champions.

“I’m thrilled that the Hall family will be the recipient of the Downtown Council’s Phil Kirk award,” said Cathy Smith, Chair of the DTC and vice president of corporate planning for Faultless Starch/Bon Ami. “Through Hallmark Cards, Crown Center, and their own civic leadership, the Halls have contributed greatly to making Kansas City the creative, artistic, and culturally advanced city that it is.”

Hallmark Cards has operated its corporate headquarters in Downtown Kansas City since the company was founded in 1910. In 1968, the company established the Crown Center Redevelopment Corp. to revitalize more than 85 acres within the urban core.  Today, the Crown Center campus is home to Hallmark’s headquarters, along with hotels, offices, residential housing, entertainment venues and retail shops.

“Hallmark and the Hall Family are deeply honored to receive this award,” said Hallmark CEO Don Hall, Jr., “because it celebrates the economic vitality of Kansas City, something the company and my family have been deeply committed to for generations.”

The Mayor’s Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Crown Center creates an indelible, iconic picture of joy and creativity in Kansas City during the holiday season annually.

Today, Hallmark is a diversified portfolio of businesses with about $4 billion in annual revenues and 28,000 employees worldwide. The company is led by CEO Don Hall, Jr. and President Dave Hall, grandsons of founder J.C. Hall and the sons of Donald J. Hall, Hallmark board chairman.

Hallmark’s key businesses include: greeting cards and gift wrap, Hallmark Gold Crown retail stores, home décor and gifts, Crayola art materials and toys, Crown Media cable television channels, and Crown Center, a real estate development company.

“The Kirk Award honors leaders whose vision, guidance and commitment have contributed to setting Downtown Kansas City on the path to revitalization,” said Bill Dietrich, president & CEO of the Downtown Council. “The Halls epitomize these qualities in their professional and personal lives, as did the award’s namesake.”

Since 1943, the Hall Family Foundation has been a catalyst to enrich the community and help people. Donald J. Hall serves as board chairman for the family’s foundation which has played a leadership role in countless transformative Downtown projects, including the redevelopment of the Quality Hill neighborhood, the restoration of Union Station, the expansion of Children’s Mercy Hospital, the restoration of the Folly Theater, the new building addition at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and the construction of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

The Kirk Award selection panel, consisting of Downtown Council officers and past chairs, bases its recommendation on the nominee’s contributions to Downtown Kansas City in at least two of the following areas:

  • Creating a capital investment, new building, renovation or technology
  • Increasing the Downtown residential or employee population, business starts or entrepreneurial retail starts
  • Improving Downtown neighborhoods and quality of life, in the areas of businesses, housing, streetscape or the urban environment
  • Displaying a continued commitment to improving the social fabric of Downtown

The establishment of the Phil Kirk Award in 2002 marked a strategic decision to recognize those leaders, those champions who have played critical roles in lifting Downtown from the depths of despair in the 1980s and 1990s into the juggernaut that we see today. For a list of past recipients, including the 2016 recipient, Al Mauro, Jr. (pictured here) go to http://www.downtownkc.org/awards/.

The award will be presented at the Downtown Council’s 2018 Annual Luncheon that will unfold from11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 26 in the Convention Center’s Grand Ballroom. Learn more about the luncheon, sponsorship opportunities and registration details at: http://www.downtownkc.org/annual-luncheon/

Edgemoor reveals preliminary design for new KCI terminal

A new look for KCI: Edgemoor unveils preliminary designs for the new airport terminal to the City Council today.

A two-story fountain anchors the sleek, modern, initial design concepts unveiled to the City Council on Thursday by Edgemoor Infrastructure, the team recently selected as the preferred proposer for the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill (SOM), an internationally-known architecture firm, has incorporated elements that reflect Kansas City’s cultural heritage into the preliminary design. The two-story fountain in the center of the terminal would include technology to project messages and colors on the cascading water to welcome travelers.

SOM’s Derek Moore presented the concepts to the City Council today (Thursday). Following a successful election on Nov. 7, the design team will discuss the concepts and collect feedback from Kansas City residents and airport users through a series of design open houses in each council district during November and December.

Convenience for travelers is a major element of the design as well. The design features close-in parking, and a two-level curbside pick-up and drop-off area which will be faster and more convenient for travelers. Also, waiting areas at each gate will have room for the increased number of passengers on today’s planes.

Edgemoor has also created a website  https://www.kci-edgemoor.com/  and Twitter account @Edgemoordevel to engage with the community and share information about the design and new terminal development project.

Financing for the new terminal will be paid back from airport revenues, and the city will continue to own and operate the airport. More information about the project is available on the city’s website at www.kcmo.gov/newkci.

For more information about the project, contact Chris Hernandez, City Communications Director, 816-513-3474 or chris.hernandez@kcmo.org.

Main Street MAX moving to Grand Blvd. on Oct. 1

RideKC will launch a new route for the Main Street MAX on Sunday, Oct. 1- complete with a free family celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. at Washington Square Park near Crown Center.

Beginning on Sunday, the Main Street MAX route will change in Downtown, and run on Grand from 3rd Street in the River Market to Crown Center.

This change will allow for quicker travel through Downtown, allowing riders to arrive at their destination sooner. The Main Street MAX will no longer run its circuitous route on Wyandotte, Main, Oak, 8th, 9th, 11th, and 12th streets.

MAX will complement KC Streetcar’s frequent service in Downtown on Main and will continue to connect to the streetcar in River Market. South of Crown Center, the Main Street MAX will not change, serving midtown, Country Club Plaza, Brookside and Waldo.

Family Celebration on Sunday

The free family celebration event will features food trucks, free inflatable games, and music from DJ Soap beginning at 2 p.m. Sunday.

There will be plenty of prizes and catch-themed giveaways. KC Streetcar, Mid-America Regional Council and B-Cycle will join RideKC at the party. RideKC will also unveil its second Scavenger Hunt, focused on destinations along Main MAX.

“Customer response to this change has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Kansas City Area Transit Authority (KCATA) CEO and President Robbie Makinen. “Downtown has changed a lot in the 12 years since MAX started. Riders are looking forward to a quicker, easier ride on one of our most popular routes.”

Schedule Changes for Main MAX

Spurred by the route change for the Main Street MAX, the KCATA all times on the route will change, effective Sunday, Oct. 1.

On weekdays during the daytime, Main MAX runs every 10 minutes between Downtown and The Plaza, and every 20 minutes south of The Plaza. During weekday evenings, Main MAX runs every 15 minutes between Downtown and The Plaza, and every 30 minutes south of The Plaza.

On Saturday during the day, the Main MAX runs every 15 minutes between Downtown and The Plaza, and every 30 minutes south of The Plaza. On Saturday evenings and all day on Sunday, Main MAX runs every 30 minutes, with all service traveling between Downtown and Waldo.

New maps and schedules are available at RideKC.org and on board Main MAX buses.

And, for more information in general, visit KCATA.org.

Solar eclipse inspires 6 watch parties in Downtown KC

Looking for a great place to witness the total solar eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21? You’ve come to the right place. Downtown Kansas City will be home to six public watch parties and a Mural + Creativity Festival.

You can get the complete Downtown low-down at kceclipse2017.com, courtesy of the Downtown Council’s Tactical Urbanism group.

America’s greatest solar eclipse since 1918 will cast a patch of darkness from coast to coast on Monday, Aug. 21. Throughout Missouri, anyone will be able to see the eclipse on Aug. 21, but the totality (or total darkness) – when the moon completely blocks out the sun – will best be visible the closer you get to St. Joseph.

Kansas City may be located a bit south of St. Joe and maximum totality, but totality is still expected to best be viewed in Downtown – albeit for a shorter amount of time – when you are north of 19th Street. In Downtown KC, the eclipse will begin at 11:41 a.m. and reach a peak (totality) at 1:08 p.m.

The five Downtown watch parties and one creativity festival are located along the KC Streetcar route at these six locations:

And, BEFORE, you set out for the eclipse watch party of your choice, be sure to know the facts about eye safety and the solar eclipse. According to NASA , never look directly at the Sun. You can not only seriously hurt your eyes, but possibly go blind. Proper eye protection, like eclipse glasses or a Sun filter, is the only safe option. Sunglasses don’t work.

For more information about eye safety, click here or check out this safety flier from NASA.

And, for complete eclipse science, guides and time-stamped viewing maps of the eclipse path, visit eclipse2017.org.





Downtown KC Urban Hero nominations due this Friday

2017 Urban Heroes: Deb Churchill, Andrew Bracker, Julie Nelson Meers, Vince Bryant and Matt Staub

Do you know someone who is passionately working to make Downtown Kansas City a better place?

You can show your appreciation by nominating them for an Urban Hero Award from the Downtown Council! And, you’ll need to hurry. The nomination deadline is on Friday.

Your input is essential in identifying the most qualified candidates for these honors, which will be presented at the DTC Annual Luncheon in January 2018.

Please consider making a nomination for this year’s award.

This Urban Hero award recognizes small businesses and individuals who are passionate about making Downtown KC a more vibrant place to live, work and play.

The most recent set of Urban Hero awards went to five individuals, including Andrew Bracker, the City of Kansas City; Vince Bryant, 3D Development Group; Deb Churchill, The City Market; Julie Nelson Meers, mobank; and Matt Staub, community leader and member of the KC Streetcar Authority.

The award is given to those who have worked to improve the quality of life Downtown.  Click here to make your nomination.

And, remember, the deadline for nominations is this Friday, Aug. 4.

For more information, contact Ann Holliday, ann@downtownkc.org, or Julie Shippy, jules@downtownkc.org.

Downtown Office Summit reflects strength, optimism

The Downtown Council stage its first Downtown Office Summit on Wednesday at Corrigan Station. The event was a sell-out not only with Downtown business and civic leaders, but also with developers and potential office tenants who are closely watching and keenly interested in this next chapter of Downtown’s revitalization.

The following report was filed last night by Kevin Collison, publisher and writer of CitySceneKC, a new hyperlocal digital newspaper serving Downtown Kansas City.

Downtown Kansas City is on the cusp of new office construction to meet the needs of employers who want to recruit and retain younger workers seeking the diversity and energy of an urban environment, according to writer Kevin Collison in today’s edition of CitySceneKC.com

That was one of the takeaways at the Downtown Council of Kansas City‘s first ever office summit Wednesday, an event attended by 170 people in the newly redeveloped Corrigan Station office project.

It’s goal was to explore how Downtown can attract more private employers.

“Since our move, we’ve acquired a lot more talent,” said Meg Stapleton of Auto Alert, a software firm that recently relocated its headquarters from California and is occupying 45,000 square feet in a building at 114 W. 11th St.

“We’re attracting the younger, new talent that wants an urban mix.”

The summit was kicked off by Mayor Sly James, who said major projects including the renovation of Union Station, the Sprint Center, Power & Light District and Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, plus events like First Fridays set the stage for a more vibrant downtown.

“The key to any city’s success is attracting businesses and companies in the future who need talent that wants to take advantage of the downtown lifestyle,” James said. “If we corner the market on talent, the businesses will follow.”

To read Collison’s complete story, go to CitySceneKC.com.


Nominations open for annual Downtown KC awards

2016 Urban Heroes: Deb Churchill, Andrew Bracker, Julie Nelson Meers, Vince Bryant and Matt Staub.

The Downtown Council has opened nominations for its two annual awards, the Urban Hero Award and the J. Philip Kirk Award.

Your input is essential in identifying the most qualified candidates for these honors, which will be presented at the next DTC Annual Luncheon in January 2018.  Please consider making a nomination for this year’s awards.

Urban Hero Award

This award recognizes small businesses and individuals who are passionate about making Downtown Kansas City a more vibrant place to live, work and play. The award is given to those who have worked to improve the quality of life Downtown.  Click here to make your nomination.

J. Philip Kirk Jr. Award in Honor of Community Vision and Downtown Stewardship

This award is presented annually to a civic leader whose vision, guidance and commitment have helped

Pat Ottensmeyer, 2016 Kirk Honoree Al Mauro and Steve Dunn

set Downtown on a clear path for revitalization.  Click here to make your nomination. 


DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS is  Friday, Aug. 4, 2017!

Contact Julie Shippy, jules@downtownkc.org or Ann Holliday, ann@downtownkc.org with any questions.