Time is running out to register for Downtown Office Summit

View of Downtown Kansas City from the rooftop of the Corrigan Building, 19th & Main, home of the Downtown Office Summit meeting on July 12.

The Downtown Council of Kansas City
invites you to attend the
Downtown Kansas City Office Summit
two weeks from today @ 3 p.m. Wednesday, July 12,
Corrigan Building, 1828 Walnut
Cocktail reception to follow at 5:30 p.m. on the Corrigan rooftop (weather permitting)

Mayor Sly James

 The Honorable Sylvester James, Mayor of the City of Kansas City,
will deliver opening remarks: 

The City’s perspective on the future of office development in Downtown.
What are the City’s plans (or vision) to facilitate future growth?  

 Market Overview
E. Gibson Kerr, Vice President, Cushman & Wakefield
Michael Klamm, Managing Director, CBRE
Recent Market Activity
What are the opportunities and obstacles? 
What are tenants looking for in today’s market?

Jon Copaken, Principal, Copaken Brooks
Dave Harrison, President, VanTrust Real Estate
Bryan Johnson, CEO, Colliers International, Kansas City
Troy Schulte, City Manager, City of Kansas City, Missouri
Downtown Office Manager
Downtown Office Tenant 

Moderator: Steve Vockrodt, The Kansas City Star

 Limited seating available. Registration closes, July 7th 


For more information, contact Julie Shippy, jules@downtown.org

Thank you to our sponsors:

Two Ambassadors step up to CID leadership roles

CID Ambassadors Art Chatman, left, and Marvin Williams have stepped into leadership roles this summer in the Community Improvement Districts.

The Community Improvement Districts (CID) of Downtown Kansas City have promoted two long-term Ambassadors to supervisor-level positions. Marvin Williams has stepped into the role of Public Maintenance Ambassador Supervisor, while Art Chatman is the new Public Landscape Ambassador Supervisor.

“It’s with great pride that we announce these promotions. This announcement is not only a vote of confidence in Marvin and Art, but also well-deserved by these two role models for the CID Ambassadors,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the CID. “They earned these opportunities the old-fashioned way – through their hard word, integrity and positive attitudes.”

Marvin Williams

Williams has been a CID Ambassador for 11 years. Hired in 2006, he was promoted to Crew Chief in 2008 in charge of the weekend crew.

Williams was introduced to the CID in 2006, when he was looking for a job and putting in applications around the City. One day as he was waited for the bus at the 10th and Main Metro Plex, Williams struck up a conversation with a CID Public Safety Ambassador who was patrolling the bus stop and asked about the Community Improvement Districts. That conversation prompted him to walk across the street and fill out an application. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

“I like how much all of Downtown is progressing since I started in 2006, including the Power & Light District, Sprint Center and the Streetcar,” Williams said. “It’s great to see how the Streetcar has brought so many people to Downtown and the River Market.”

Williams enjoys his work with the CIDs, particularly meeting people and working outdoors.

“I like interacting with people, and helping them find where they need to go,” Williams said. “There’s something about working in the fresh air and the changing of the seasons that makes this job interesting all the time.”

“I’ve never been a lazy person and I have always wanted to do things that make a difference.”

Art Chatman

Art Chatman began his career with the CID as a Public Safety Ambassador in 2005. In 2013,  he was promoted to manage the Downtown Council-run Department of Motor Vehicles office at 615 E. 13th Street for a year. Chatman returned to the DCID as a Safety Ambassador Captain in 2014 and was promoted to Supervisor in 2015 before becoming the CID’s Landscape Supervisor.

Chatman, who was a barber before coming to the CID, still has his barber’s license. “I still cut hair on the side,” Chatman said, “and I’m looking to own my own barber shop someday.”

Chatman says he really likes the family feel of the CID.

“Once you get in with the CID,” he said, “you really don’t want to go anywhere else.” “The only job better than this would be a professional fisherman,” he added.

Chatman is impressed with the revitalization of Downtown and the River Market. he enjoys seeing how they are flourishing and knowing that the small part that he has played as a CID Ambassador to help make it happen.

“It is really hard to remember what it was even like when I first started back in 2005,” Chatman  said.

Click here to learn more about the Downtown and River Market CIDs.




CID Ambassadors: staffing the BIG show(s) in Downtown

Marvin Williams, CID Public Maintenance Ambassador Supervisor, patrols the grounds of Celebration at the Station during the annual Memorial Day weekend event that drew about 50,000 guests.

It may come as no surprise that the Community Improvement District (CID) Ambassadors are charged with providing a strong and comforting presence in the Central Business District and the River Market seven days a week. But did you know they also work that front lines at some of the major events in Downtown?

In just the last few weeks, CID Ambassadors chalked up more than 800 hours of work over three days at two of the summer’s biggest shows over Memorial Day weekend – the Celebration at the Station at Union Station AND the KC Jazz & Heritage Festival at 18th & Vine.

“Memorial Day weekend stretches us quite a bit, but the CID Ambassadors have a long and proud tradition of providing security and trash collection services at the major, holiday weekend attractions,” said Mark Rowlands, CID director.

CID Ambassadors – visible to the right of the stage – delivered public safety and maintenance services throughout the KC Jazz & Heritage Festival over Memorial Day weekend.

Ambassadors have performed their extra duties at Celebration since 2010. They have been a part of the new Jazz & Heritage Festival and previous Rhythm & Ribs jazz festivals since 2011.

Rowlands said the CID “bumble bees” routinely patrol the Central Library, River Market, City Market, and Ride KC and KC Streetcar stops, along with key intersections, streets, parking lots and special events, welcoming more than 75,000 workers, 24,000 residents and 25 million visitors to Downtown each year.

Ambassadors serve as the first point of contact for emergency needs, and help to maintain order and to deter crime through their consistent coverage and visibility. Maintaining valuable partnerships with the Kansas City Missouri Police Department (KCPD) and other law enforcement agencies helps to sustain low crime levels in Downtown.


Crossroads to launch Downtown high school at Park U. urban campus

Crossroads Charter Schools will open a Downtown High School at a temporary location on the Park University Downtown campus beginning in fall 2018. (Courtesy of The Star.)

The dream of a Downtown Kansas City high school is about to become a reality.

Earlier this year, Crossroads Charter Schools, a network of three schools in the heart of Downtown Kansas City, Mo., revealed the launch of Crossroads High School. Today, Park University and Crossroads announced a partnership for Crossroads High School to utilize the University’s Downtown Campus Center as its temporary home through July 2019.

This fall, the first class of 30 Crossroads High School freshmen, along with five faculty and staff, will occupy three of the University’s classrooms during the day on the third floor of the Commerce Tower redevelopment at 911 Main Street. Crossroads anticipates 70 more students will be added for the 2018-19 academic year while a permanent high school building is prepared to open in fall 2019. Also, as part of the partnership, Crossroads students will have opportunities to visit the University’s flagship campus in Parkville, Mo., to gain additional exposure to college life.

Crossroads will host an open house for its students and parents on Friday, June 9, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at Park’s Downtown Campus, to provide a sneak peek of the opportunities they will have to engage in the downtown community and its accessibility to the city’s streetcar line, which has a stop outside the building.

“We are excited that Crossroads students will expand their studies in this newly renovated, high-tech, university setting,” said Dean Johnson, executive director of Crossroads Charter Schools.

Crossroads opened its first elementary school in 2013 in an office building in Downtown Kansas City and by 2017 enrolled roughly 570 students in kindergarten through eighth grade in two Downtown locations.

“Park University is excited to work with Crossroads Charter Schools as it expands to provide education to high school age students,” said Kena Wolf, associate vice president for campus center operations at Park. “These students give the University a unique opportunity to partner in creative and innovative ways, and support our mutual desire to bring convenient education opportunities to the downtown community, which Park has provided since 1974.”

Kirsten Brown, a current teacher at Crossroads, will be the founding principal of Crossroads High School. For more information about Crossroads Charter Schools, visit www.crossroadsschoolskc.org/.

To read more about the Crossroads High School announcement, visit The Kansas City Star at http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/article152737769.html and The Kansas City Business Journal at http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2017/05/25/crossroads-high-school-temporary-location.html.

Founded in 1875 in Parkville, Mo., a suburb of Kansas City, Park University is a nonprofit, private institution that is a national leader in higher education. In 2000, Park achieved university status and now serves 17,000 students annually at 40 campus centers in 21 states and online, including campus centers in Parkville, Independence and Downtown Kansas City, Mo.; Austin and El Paso, Texas; Barstow and Victorville, Calif.; and 33 military installations across the country. www.park.edu

Crossroads Charter Schools, which opened in Downtown Kansas City, Mo., in 2012, prepares and inspires students to build a better tomorrow by providing an academically rigorous K-12 education in a creative, collaborative, community-focused environment. Crossroads Academy – Central Street, is a K-8 school at 10th and Central, and Crossroads Academy – Quality Hill, is a K-3 school at 11th and Washington. www.crossroadsschoolskc.org


Safety Escort Service available daily from CID Ambassadors

CID Ambassadors provide free Safety Escort services seven days a week to Downtown workers, residents or visitors.Community Improvement District (CID) Ambassadors are dedicated to providing a strong and comforting presence in the Central Business District and River Market seven days a week.

“The ‘bumble bees’ patrol the Central Library, Ride KC and KC Streetcar stops, the City Market, 18th & Vine, key intersections, streets, parking lots and special events welcoming more than 80,000 workers, 24,000 residents and 25 million visitors every year,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the CIDs.

And, they provide personal, safety escort service upon request.

Safety Ambassadors provide assistance through our Safety Escort service by walking residents, employees and visitors in the Downtown area to and from their car and workplace or residence. The CIDs provide this service between the hours of 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.

“While the Downtown area is statistically safer in the terms of crimes against individuals than other places in the City, the CID Safety Ambassadors are committed to helping anyone feel more comfortable walking the sidewalks at any time during the day,” Rowlands said.

“Besides, the Ambassadors have outstanding personalities and the conversations are sure to be polite, positive and interesting.”

The CIDs have logged nearly 8,000 Safety Escorts since the Downtown CID was launched in 2003, including nearly 1,600 last year alone.

To request this free public service, call the CID dispatch at 816-421-5243 during office hours, or 816-820-3475 during evenings or early mornings.


CIDs leverage PIAC funds to build & grow healthy neighborhoods

The Downtown and River Market Community Improvement Districts are committed to growing Clean, Safe and Green neighborhoods in Downtown KC.


While Clean & Safe has long been the mantra of the urban Community Improvement Districts, they have been joined in recent years by Green, which represents a commitment to beautifying Downtown and the River Market.

Green takes roots in large and small patches of Kansas City’s urban corridors and is nurtured by the green thumbs of the CID Landscape Ambassadors, who focus their attention on flowers, trees and streetscapes.

The Green initiative – now in its eighth year – is made possible by a partnership with the City of Kansas City, Missouri, which awards Public Improvements Advisory Committee (PIAC) funds to the CIDs to make these improvements to the urban landscape.

PIAC has awarded $2.25 million to the DCID and RMCID ($175,000 and $75,000 per year, respectively) over the course of the last eight years to fund these improvements.

“Our Green efforts represent great partnership with the City, a lot of hard work and a complete labor of love for the CID Landscape Ambassadors,” said Mark Rowlands, director of the CIDs. “All of the time, money and effort is dedicated to the beautification of Downtown and the River Market for residents, employees and visitors.”

The CID PIAC Scope of Services grid (below) illustrates the volume of improvements made over the years by the Downtown and River Market Landscape Ambassadors:




Cue the countdown: 60 days left to apply for LaunchKC grant

Erika Klotz, center, CEO of Pop Bookings, one of 20 tech startups to earn grants from LaunchKC over its first two competitions. Applications are open for 60 more days before the 2017 contest.

Cue the countdown – there are only 60 days let for you to apply – or spread the word to potential applicants – for a slice of the $500,000 in LaunchKC grants. The application window closes on July 7.

LaunchKC, the global grants competition for tech entrepreneurs, is in hot pursuit of the best and brightest business startups to apply for  half a million dollars in non-dilutive grants that will be awarded during Techweek Kansas City on Sept. 15.

Now in its third year, LaunchKC is a platform for attracting tech entrepreneurs and their early stage businesses to establish/grow emerging enterprises in Kansas City. LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City working in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, is an economic engine in the City’s tech/startup ecosystem.

A few new wrinkles in the LaunchKC competition this year include:

  • Introduction of a $100,000 grand prize grant to be awarded on Sept. 15
  • LaunchKC judges will hear pitches from 20 competition finalists at Techweek KC on Friday morning, Sept. 15, and select 9 recipients of $50,000 grants who will be introduced that evening.
  • During the awards ceremony, one of the 9 recipients will be selected to have his/her grant doubled to $100,000!

In its first two years, LaunchKC has pumped $1 million into the Kansas City tech space through $50,000 grants awarded t0 a total of 20 entrepreneurs from 6 states and 3 nations!

LaunchKC grant recipients not only will earn cash grants, but also one year of free working space in Downtown Kansas City; industry-specific mentor teams; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders from KC.

So, who will compete at Techweek Kansas City in September? Who will win the grants in 2017?

You can’t win at LaunchKC if you don’t apply. And, we have 50,000 (or more) reasons why you should go for it.

Applications for the 2017 grant competition are available online. The window will remain open until midnight on Friday, July 7, 2017.

Just ask Erika Klotz, CEO of PopBookings – grant winner from 2015.

Apply todaythe application window will close in 60 days!

Special thanks to LaunchKC sponsors:

  • Strategic: Missouri Technology Corporation, City of Kansas City, Missouri, William T. Kemper Foundation, Techweek
  • Visionary: Kansas City Power & Light District, UMB Bank
  • Contributing: Burns & McDonnell, Google Fiber, Husch Blackwell, Kansas City Power & Light, Lead Bank, Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, Downtown Council of Kansas City, Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City
  • Contributing: J.E. Dunn Construction, Lathrop & Gage, Marriott Kansas City Downtown
  • Supporters: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers; Regnier Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Think Big Partners, UMKC Henry W. Bloch School of Management

Click here to learn more about becoming a LaunchKC sponsor.

CIDs add high-tech tools to Ambassadors’ daily rounds

CID Public Safety Ambassador Dominick Trent enters Downtown Daily Log data on his CID-issued smart tablet.

The Downtown Community Improvement District has gone high tech.

Beginning just a few weeks ago, every Safety Ambassador was issued a smart tablet to fill out their Daily Log reports replacing the paper log sheets they have used since the beginning Downtown CID in 2003.

According to Mark Rowlands, director of the CIDs, the technology will allow supervisors and management to review all Ambassadors activities in real time, as well as produce reports faster. The CID Dispatcher will also be able to see where each Ambassador is (while they are on  the clock) to expedite nearby resources to incidents within the District more efficiently.

“We are excited about bringing this technology into the hands of the CID Ambassadors,” Rowlands said. “The tablets will provide more tools for the Ambassadors to use as they patrol the sidewalks, parks and the Streetcar.”

The DCID is partnering with EB Systems, a Kansas City-based company, to design a reporting system that fits the organization’s mission and services. EB Systems is a technology company with expertise in Real-Time Location and reporting, workforce management and automation using their eBeacons mobile app.

The smart tablet system was introduced as a pilot project with the CID Streetcar Ambassadors about six months ago and quickly became a favorite.

In addition, the app has quick access to KCATA bus schedule, KC Streetcar arrivals and the VisitKC website.

For more information on the Community Improvement District, contact Rowlands at mark@downtownkc.org or visit the CID website.


CID Ambassadors ride the streetcar rails daily in Downtown

Streetcar Ambassadors (from left) Oscar Palacios, Ciera Edmonds and Avery Williams ride the streetcar daily in their roles as Community Improvement District Ambassadors. 

Ambassadors from the Downtown and River Market Community Improvement Districts (CID) are nearing the first anniversary of staffing the KC Streetcar, as it travels the two-mile route through Downtown seven days a week.

Three full-time CID Ambassadors began riding the streetcar – covering three shifts per day – when the KC Streetcar began operations on May 6, 2016. Since that opening day, the streetcar has drawn nearly 2 million rides from Downtown residents, workers and visitors.

“The Streetcar Ambassadors have been essential to the success of the KC Streetcar in our first year of operations,” said Tom Gerend, streetcar executive director. “They have proven to be great assets to the streetcar, as well as warm and friendly hosts for riders and guests.”

The three-person Streetcar Ambassador staff includes Ciera Edmonds, Oscar Palacios and Avery Williams.

“We are delighted with the partnership between the CIDs and the KC Streetcar Authority,” said Mark Rowlands, CID director. “The streetcars have proven themselves to be very effective at drawing guests to Downtown, and the Ambassadors are demonstrating how to help our guests feel welcome, safe and secure.”

Rowlands explained that Downtown and River Market CIDs are committed to providing a safe environment for the passengers of the Kansas City Streetcar and the surrounding public.

The Ambassadors will definitely be on duty this Saturday, as the KC Streetcar celebrates its first birthday with celebratory events from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Union Station streetcar station. The public is invited to attend, and enjoy free cake, refreshments, games, music and a hands-on truck-a-palooza exhibit for kids. And, of course, an opportunity to ride the streetcar!

The CIDs employ three Ambassadors to patrol active streetcars in order to provide an enjoyable environment. Such services will include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • Serving as a friendly, helpful source of information and guidance for passengers regarding local amenities, geography, commercial opportunities, residential communities and history;
  • Identifying and addressing public safety issues on the streetcars and stations;
  • Coordinating communications between the KCSA and its representatives;
  • Identifying and reporting to KCSA public nuisances and maintenance issues; and
  • Graffiti, poster and handbill removal on streetcars and stations

“By providing these services in a polite and courteous manner, we support an atmosphere that allows an enjoyable and safe experience for passengers,” Rowland said. “The is a classic win-win opportunity for the KC Streetcar and the Ambassadors.”




University Health to host Downtown Council on Thursday

Downtown Council members, stakeholders and friends are invited to a special open house of University Health, the newest outpatient health care center in Downtown Kansas City, from 5 -7 p.m. Thursday. (See below to RSVP.)

University Health is located at 21st and Charlotte in Hospital Hill.

University Health, 2101 Charlotte on Hospital Hill, is the newest adult outpatient care center of Truman Medical Centers. It features services for adults in a total of 24 medical specialties.

University Health, the state of the art outpatient health care center of Truman Medical Centers, will hold an open house for Downtown Council members on Thursday.

“Located at 21st and Charlotte, University Health is just minutes away from the heart of Downtown,” said Rhonda Dolan, director of business engagement for University Health. “Parking is free onsite and just steps away from the 13 speciality clinics.”

Tour of the state of the art facility will begin at 5 p.m., along with appetizers, drinks and a specialty cocktail. The tours will break at 6 p.m. for a brief program featuring TMC President & CEO Charlie Shields, UH Operating Officer Todd Clayman, City Manager Troy Schulte, City Councilman Quinton Lucas and DTC President & CEO Bill Dietrich.

University Health extended a special invitation to attend the open house to those working in Human Resources and Benefits Administration for DTC-member businesses.

“We are designed to get your employees in and out and back to work with easy, so they return focused on their work, and not their frustrations,” Dolan said.

To RSVP for the open house, please email Julie Shippy, DTC Development Officer, at julie@downtownkc.org.










Mayor proclaims Downtown KC is ‘back in the game’!

Mayor Sly James put the icing on the proverbial cake, as the Downtown Council celebrated the resurgence of Downtown Kansas City at its Annual Luncheon on Jan. 27 before an audience of 1,000 civic, business and community leaders and stakeholders.

Mayor James

“I look forward to this event each year because as a lifelong Kansas City resident, and as your Mayor, the evolution of our Downtown is something I never get tired of talking about,” Mayor James told the enthusiastic audience. “If there is one thing I believe wholeheartedly, it’s that what we see around us right now – is just the start of what’s to come.

“Downtown is a success story that we all can share in. And it’s a success story we want to see play out in all corners of KC,” he continued. “Thank you for your commitment to our city – to big ideas and bold vision. It’s because of this that I am so proud to say that Kansas City is back in the game! ”

In addition to the Mayor, the luncheon featured a series of awards, a keynote address by Christopher Leinberger, as well as with a series of speakers who extolled Downtown’s revitalization with new hotels, apartments, office spaces and entertainment venues.
The importance of the KC streetcar was touted frequently and proclaimed boldly with a new streetcar development map that tracks $1.2 billion in economic development – completed or under construction – along and adjacent to the streetcar line, PLUS another $955 million in planned development. (Copies of the map are available online or in print at the DTC office.) And, a special Downtown Council version of a rap video by Kemet the Phantom featuring the streetcar made its debut at the luncheon and won a rousing ovation.
DTC leaders also pointed to current urban priorities, including advocating for matching funds from the state to build the UMKC Downtown Campus for the Arts; supporting Kansas City’s $800 million bond package on the April ballot; and breaking ground this year on a new hotel to improve the city’s ability to compete for large conventions.

Diane Stafford, reporter for The Kansas City Star captured the essence of the luncheon, when she wrote “From economic ignominy a couple decades ago, Kansas City’s Downtown has re-emerged as an entertainment, cultural and residential hot spot with a new streetcar line that connects assets and builds walkable neighborhoods.”

Chris Leinberger

The Star focused much its coverage on remarks by Leinberger, the Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor of Urban Real Estate and Chair, Center for Real Estate and Urban Analysis, George Washington University School of Business in Washington, D.C.

“Leinberger gave Kansas City big thumbs-up for the catalytic development of the streetcar line connecting the River Market to Crown Center. But “it’s critical to build the second phase,” he said of the line’s proposed expansion south to the Country Club Plaza and the University of Missouri-Kansas City, according to The Star.

“Transportation, Leinberger emphasized, isn’t just a system to move people from place to place; it’s a system to spark economic development by providing public transportation, bike lanes and paths, and sidewalks that build vibrant neighborhoods.

“Increasingly, he said, sought-after neighborhoods — with premium price points for real estate — are in metropolitan cores, not suburbia. Even in suburban communities, he said, their downtowns and shopping centers are being redeveloped to reflect the new urbanism.”

For a complete rundown of luncheon highlights – including links to videos saluting the J. Philip Kirk Jr. Award winner Al Mauro and the five individuals honored as Urban Heroes, click here. Urban Hero recognition went to Deb Churchill, Andrew Bracker, Andrew Bracker, Julie Nelson Meers, Vince Bryant and Matt Staub.

To read the complete Annual Luncheon story in The Star, start here.