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.

LaunchKC selects winners of $500K in tech startup grants

LaunchKC awarded $500,000 in grants to nine tech entrepreneurs on Friday evening at the historic Power and Light Building. Grants winners celebrate the moment with LaunchKC sponsors and steering committee members.

LaunchKC judges awarded $500,000 in grants to nine tech startup businesses Friday evening, following a months-long competition designed to attract and retain tech entrepreneurs in Kansas City.

The nine winners, including eight from the metropolitan Kansas City area and one from Colorado, were selected Friday afternoon from a pool of 20 finalists. Each of the final 20 presented their business pitches that morning to LaunchKC judges and the Techweek Kansas City audience at the Power & Light District.

Grant winners were announced Friday evening at a special LaunchKC / Techweek Kansas City awards ceremony at the nearby Power and Light Building.

Cambrian Tech, Leawood, Kan., was chosen as the first $100,000 grand prize recipient in LaunchKC history. Cambrian designs augmented reality software for mobile devices.  Its winning business model is focused on the home improvement industry and becoming the mobile destination for DIYers.

Another $400,000 was awarded in $50,000 parcels to eight entrepreneurs, including:

“This was an outstanding competition today. Each of the 20 finalists were strong contenders for LaunchKC’s grants, as well as for building strong, economically successful businesses,” said Drew Solomon, vice president for business development at the EDC and the chair of the LaunchKC competition.

Friday’s announcement marks the culmination of weeks of application reviews and scoring by a panel of more than 35 business and financial leaders, who volunteered their time to thoughtfully narrow the field from 400 applicants from 19 states and five nations to the 20 finalists who competed on Friday.

“LaunchKC has attracted nearly 1,500 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our first three years of competition with tech entrepreneurs,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “This evening’s awards mean that we have reached $1.5 million mark in awards in just three years.”

Friday’s announcement marks the culmination of weeks of application reviews and scoring by a panel of more than 35 business and financial leaders, who volunteered their time to thoughtfully narrow the field from 400 applicants from 19 states and five nations to the 20 finalists who competed on the final day of the Techweek KC conference.

In addition to cash grants, the nine winning applicants will receive a network of support, including 12 months of free office space in Downtown KC; industry-specific mentor teams for each grant recipient; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders in and around Kansas City – all designed to elevate their efforts to build high-growth, tech sector businesses and jobs in Downtown Kansas City.

“LaunchKC is built to be an economic game-changer in Kansas City, Missouri by supporting start-up businesses, creating jobs, attracting and retaining talent, unlocking value and engaging follow-on investors,” Hurd said.

LaunchKC is a nonprofit, civic engine in the Kansas City entrepreneurial space. It is an initiative of the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corporation, both of Kansas City, Mo.

The program is fueled each year by the visionary support of corporate, public and philanthropic partners. For 2017, the sponsor honor roll includes:

Supporters: Missouri Technology Corporation; the City of Kansas City, Missouri

Visionaries: Husch Blackwell; KCP&L; The Cordish Companies / Kansas City Power & Light District; William T. Kemper Foundation; Techweek; UMB Bank; Downtown Council of Kansas City; Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City

Contributing: Burns & McDonnell; Lathrop & Gage: Lead Bank; Missouri Department of Economic Development; Polsinelli; Spring Venture Group

Emerging: Allied Global; J.E. Dunn Construction; Google Fiber

Friends: Adknowledge; ITEN; LightEdge Solutions

Supporters: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center; Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships; Think Big Partners; and the UMKC Bloch School of Business.

 

It’s showtime for 20 tech entrepreneurs at LaunchKC

Members of the 2015 class of LaunchKC grant recipients will celebrate the second anniversary of their grant awards on Friday evening, when LaunchKC announces winners of the 2017 class.

LaunchKC will take center stage on Friday at the Techweek Kansas City conference to stage the final round of competition among 20 tech entrepreneurs who are vying to take home nine cash grants worth $500,000.

This LaunchKC competition is designed to attract the best and brightest entrepreneurs to come (or stay) in Kansas City and to build their startup companies here. By the end of the day on Friday, LaunchKC will have awarded $1.5 million to 29 entrepreneurs over three years.

“The final round of this year’s competition promises to be very competitive, with 20 entrepreneurs ready to pitch their business plans before a panel of LaunchKC judges and the Techweek KC audience from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the heart of Downtown,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC.

The 20 finalists who will be competing on Friday were selected by LaunchKC judges from a pool of 400 applicants to the 2017 competition. The contenders include 14 from the Kansas City metropolitan area; five from four U.S. states; and one international business from the Ukraine.

LaunchKC is in its third year of serving as a civic engine in the local tech / entrepreneurial space.

LaunchKC is a global grants competition designed to attract tech entrepreneurs to compete for $500,000 in non-dilutive grants and the opportunity to build their new and emerging tech businesses in Kansas City, Missouri. This year, LaunchKC will award nine grants on Friday, including eight $50,000 grants and one grand prize award of $100,000.

“LaunchKC has attracted nearly 1,500 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our first three years of competition,” Hurd said. “When we award the next $500,000 at Techweek on Friday, we will have reached $1.5 million mark in awards in just three years.”

The LaunchKC finalists will compete from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday in The Gallery event space in the Kansas City Power & Light District. Tickets are available at TechweekKC.com. Each entrepreneur will have about five minutes to pitch their business plans before a panel of LaunchKC judges and the Techweek KC audience.

Once the pitch session concludes, the judges will convene to score the finalists and to select the eventual nine grant recipients. They will be revealed in a special LaunchKC / Techweek awards program from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday at The Grand Hall at the historic Power and Light Building.

The 20 finalists (alphabetically, by company name and team leader) for the Launch KC grants competition include:

  • Aware Vehicles: ZhiQiang Chen, Kansas City, Mo.
  • backstitch: Jordan Warzecha, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Blue Point 2: Liderman Duin, Leawood, Kan.
  • Cambrian Tech: Heather Spalding, Leawood, Kan.
  • H3 Enterprises: Roy Scott, Kansas City. Mo.
  • HerdDogg: Melissa Brandao, Longmont, Colo.
  • Hidden Abilities: Jamee Miller, Lawrence, Kan.
  • iShare Medical: Linda VanHorn, Kansas City, Mo.
  • MenuHunt: Beau Clinton, St. Joseph, Mo.
  • Miles: Lance Windholz, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Music Spoke: Jennifer Rosenblatt, Kansas City, Kan.
  • PlanIT Impact: Dominique Davison, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Play-it Health: Kimberly Gandy, Kansas City, Kan.
  • Redivus Health: Jeff Dunn, Olathe, Kan.
  • Sickweather: Graham Dodge, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Smart Bridge Health: Hua Wang, Washington, D.C.
  • TradeLanes: Vijay Harrell, Kansas City, Mo.
  • UniExo: Tatiana Holovachenko, Ukraine
  • Vytal: Jared Goering, McPherson, Kan.
  • Zitches: Bart Patenaude, Kansas City, Mo.

In addition to cash grants, the nine winning applicants will receive a network of support, including 12 months of free office space in Downtown KC; industry-specific mentor teams for each grant recipient; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders in and around Kansas City – all designed to elevate their efforts to build high-growth, tech sector businesses and jobs in Downtown Kansas City.

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

The program is fueled each year by the visionary support of corporate, public and philanthropic partners. For 2017, the sponsor honor roll includes:

Supporters: Missouri Technology Corporation; the City of Kansas City, Missouri

Visionaries: Husch Blackwell; KCP&L; The Cordish Companies / Kansas City Power & Light District; William T. Kemper Foundation; Techweek; UMB Bank; Downtown Council of Kansas City; Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City

Contributing: Burns & McDonnell; Lathrop & Gage: Lead Bank; Missouri Department of Economic Development; Polsinelli; Spring Venture Group

Emerging: Allied Global; J.E. Dunn Construction; Google Fiber

Friends: Adknowledge; ITEN; LightEdge Solutions

Supporters: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center; Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships; Think Big Partners; and the UMKC Bloch School of Business.

 

Techweek & LaunchKC prep for center stage on Sept. 11-15

Techweek returns to Kansas City for its third annual technology / entrepreneur conference + festival from Sept. 11-15. The local LaunchKC grant competition for tech startups will anchor the conference on Friday, Sept. 15.

The third annual Techweek Kansas City conference + festival returns to KC on Monday, Sept. 11, featuring a week of learning, networking and playing, along with the final round of competition in the annual LaunchKC $500,000 grants competition for tech entrepreneurs on Friday, Sept. 15.

“Kansas City is one of the country’s most influential, up-and-coming tech hubs,” said Amanda Signorelli, Techweek CEO. “The community has given Techweek a warm welcome.”

A quick highlight reel of the complete Techweek KC schedule for 2017 includes:

  • Monday, Sept. 11 – 1 p.m. Blocktrain Learning Track at Sprint Accelerator; 5 p.m. Pure Pitch Rally at Helix; 7 p.m. Kickoff Party at Boulevard Beer Hall
  • Tuesday, Sept. 12 – 11 a.m. Building Inclusive Tech Communities  at Missouri Career Centers; 1 p.m. Tech, Talk and Tour Tomorrow at the Cerner campus; 5:30 p.m. Official Happy Hour at VML
  • Wednesday, Sept. 13 – 1 p.m. Future of Animal Health Corridor at Travois; 3 p.m. KC’s Leaders in Mobile Technology at Pure Pursuit Event Space; 5 p.m. Barrels and Brushes Happy Hour by Husch Blackwell at the J. Rieger Distillery
  • Thursday, Sept. 14 – All day Growth Summit at the Plexpod Westport Commons. Program begins at 8 a.m. with Women in Tech Breakfast. Sessions are planned for the entire day, including a Hiring Fair at noon.
  • Friday, Sept. 15 – LaunchKC Day to feature:
    • 8:30 a.m. Keynote address by Kathryn Minshew of The Muse; and
    • 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. LaunchKC finalists to pitch their business plans at The Gallery, Power & Light District
    • 5 p.m. Techweek and LaunchKC awards reception and program at The Grand Hall, historic Power & Light Building

To reserve your spot for any or all Techweek / LaunchKC event, visit Techweek Kansas City to select your ticket options.

Techweek is a technology and startup festival with the objective of catalyzing the growth of billion-dollar businesses and spreading wealth creation to diverse people and places. Techweek operates out of Chicago, and features annual technology conferences in nine North American cities, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City. Techweek has been featured as one of the top 30 conferences for entrepreneurs in 2017 by Inc. Magazine.

The complete Techweek Kansas City conference schedule for Sept. 11-15 is available for viewing online. The week will reach a crescendo with the LaunchKC competition on Friday, Sept. 15. The 20 LaunchKC finalists will make their pitches on Friday morning. The nine grant winners will be announced at a special awards ceremony that evening.

LaunchKC, the global grants competition powered by the Downtown Council and the Economic Development Corporation, is in its third year of operations and in using the Techweek platform to stage the final round of pitches

“LaunchKC was a startup itself when we organized and launched the first grants competition in 2014/15,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “And, now, at the end of the LaunchKC day at Techweek, we will have awarded a total of $1.5 million to 29 tech entrepreneurs in our first three years.”

 

 

LaunchKC advances 20 businesses to competition finals

LaunchKC has selected 20 businesses to compete for nine grants totaling $500,000 at the LaunchKC grant competition at Techweek on Sept. 15. Steering Committee chair Rachel Merlo of Google Fiber is pictured during an address to Downtown Council members and stakeholders earlier this year.

 

LaunchKC announced today its selection of 20 tech entrepreneurs who will be in Kansas City in three weeks to compete for $500,000 in grants, and an opportunity to build their business enterprises here. The finalists were selected from a pool of 400 grant applicants.

The 20 contenders include 14 from the Kansas City metropolitan area; five from four U.S. states; and 1 international business from the Ukraine. Each will be in Kansas City in mid-September to compete for nine startup grants, during the Techweek Kansas City conference + festival from Sept. 11-15.

“It has been another strong year for applications to LaunchKC,” said Drew Solomon, senior vice president of business development at the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri, and competition chairman for LaunchKC. “We are very fortunate to have the immense support of our judges, sponsors and the Kansas City community in securing the final 20 who will compete for the $500,000 available in this year’s competition.”

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

LaunchKC is a global grants competition designed to attract tech entrepreneurs to compete for $500,000 in non-dilutive grants and the opportunity to build their new and emerging tech businesses in Kansas City, Missouri. This year, LaunchKC will award nine grants on Friday, Sept. 15, including eight $50,000 grants and one grand prize award of $100,000.

“LaunchKC has attracted nearly 1,500 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our first three years of competition,” said Mike Hurd, marketing officer for LaunchKC and the Downtown Council. “When we award the next $500,000 at Techweek, we will have reached $1.5 million mark in awards in just three years.”

Today’s announcement marks the culmination of weeks of application reviews and scoring by a panel of more than 35 business and financial leaders, who volunteered their time to thoughtfully narrow the field from 400 applicants from 19 states and five nations to the 20 finalists announced today.

The 20 finalists (alphabetically, by company name and team leader) for the Launch KC grants competition include:

  • Aware Vehicles: ZhiQiang Chen, Kansas City, Mo.
  • backstitch: Jordan Warzecha, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Blue Point 2: Liderman Duin, Leawood, Kan.
  • Cambrian Tech: Heather Spalding, Leawood, Kan.
  • H3 Enterprises: Roy Scott, Kansas City. Mo.
  • HerdDogg: Melissa Brandao, Longmont, Colo.
  • Hidden Abilities: Jamee Miller, Lawrence, Kan.
  • iShare Medical: Linda VanHorn, Kansas City, Mo.
  • MenuHunt: Beau Clinton, St. Joseph, Mo.
  • Miles: Lance Windholz, Overland Park, Kan.
  • Music Spoke: Jennifer Rosenblatt, Kansas City, Kan.
  • PlanIT Impact: Dominique Davison, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Play-it Health: Kimberly Gandy, Kansas City, Kan.
  • Redivus Health: Jeff Dunn, Olathe, Kan.
  • Sickweather: Graham Dodge, Kansas City, Mo.
  • Smart Bridge Health: Hua Wang, Washington, D.C.
  • TradeLanes: Vijay Harrell, Kansas City, Mo.
  • UniExo: Tatiana Holovachenko, Ukraine
  • Vytal: Jared Goering, McPherson, Kan.
  • Zitches: Bart Patenaude, Kansas City, Mo.

In addition to cash grants, the nine winning applicants will receive a network of support, including 12 months of free office space in Downtown KC; industry-specific mentor teams for each grant recipient; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders in and around Kansas City – all designed to elevate their efforts to build high-growth, tech sector businesses and jobs in Downtown Kansas City.

“LaunchKC is built to be an economic game-changer in Kansas City, Missouri by supporting start-up businesses, creating jobs, attracting talent, unlocking value and engaging follow-on investors,” Hurd said.

LaunchKC is a nonprofit, civic engine in the Kansas City entrepreneurial space.

The program is fueled each year by the visionary support of corporate, public and philanthropic partners. For 2017, the sponsor honor roll includes:

Supporters: Missouri Technology Corporation; the City of Kansas City, Missouri

Visionaries: Husch Blackwell; KCP&L; The Cordish Companies / Kansas City Power & Light District; William T. Kemper Foundation; Techweek; UMB Bank; Downtown Council of Kansas City; Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City

Contributing: Burns & McDonnell; Lathrop & Gage: Lead Bank; Missouri Department of Economic Development; Polsinelli; Spring Venture Group

Emerging: Allied Global; J.E. Dunn Construction; Google Fiber

Friends: Adknowledge; ITEN; LightEdge Solutions

Supporters: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center; Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships; Think Big Partners; and the UMKC Bloch School of Business.

 

Joe’s KC teams up with Back Napkin for Downtown eatery

Joe’s Kansas City employees including Cary Taylor (left) and Marshaun Hargrove prepared burnt end barbacoa tacos to give out during a free lunch last Thursday in the Power & Light District. Photo courtesy of The Star.

Two of Kansas City’s leading homegrown restaurant companies, Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que and Back Napkin Restaurant Group, have announced plans to open a new, collaborative dining and drinking establishment in the Kansas City Power & Light District as early as the spring of 2018.

County Line Ice House will be entirely new to Kansas City. It will feature the smoked meats Joe’s Kansas City has made famous, as well as burgers, tacos, and ice cold beer, served in a casual indoor and outdoor environment.

The announcement – and a spontaneous lunch – was served and celebrated on Walnut Street (between 13th & 14th streets) last Thursday.

“We’re thrilled to be introducing the ice house concept to Kansas City,” said Jeff Stehney, founder and owner of Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que. “In Texas, where the ice house tradition originated, these were public places where friends and neighbors came together to relax and enjoy some good food and music. Usually with big outdoor seating areas. We want to replicate that experience here in our hometown.”

“This is a whole new old thing for Kansas City,” said Zach Marten, co-founder of Back Napkin Restaurant Group. “In the South, ice houses have been around for a long time; big spaces where people gather to kick back, laugh and talk, and drink some beer. It’s going to be a lot of fun to bring this concept to Kansas City.”

 

County Line Ice House will be located at 100 E. 14 St., on the southeast corner of Kansas City Live! Block. The space will feature two patio areas, including one with front-row seats to the KC Live! stage.

“One of our primary goals in managing the Power & Light District is making sure that Downtown is not only a place Kansas City can be proud of but also a place that reflects what makes Kansas City great,” said Nick Benjamin, executive director of the Power & Light District. “With that in mind, we couldn’t be more excited to announce the addition of County Line Ice House to the District.

“Joe’s Kansas City BBQ is one of Kansas City’s most impressive local businesses—a reason people visit Kansas City and a reason people love living in Kansas City. We know this collaboration between Joe’s and the locally-owned Back Napkin Restaurant Group will have a similar impact, and we are all anxiously awaiting our first meal there early next year.”

County Line Ice House will be owned and operated by a newly formed Missouri-based LLC. Its menu will feature many of the same items served at the three KC area Joe’s locations. The County Line menu will also feature tacos, as well as burgers made with a proprietary beef blend; all created with the same attention to detail and quality that both Joe’s and Back Napkin are known for.

In addition, County Line Ice House will be the only place in Kansas City that will offer Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que on Sundays.

Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que was founded by Jeff & Joy Stehney in 1996. Their original restaurant, located in the gas station at the corner of 47th Avenue and Mission Road, in Kansas City, Kansas, has earned scores of local, regional, and national accolades for its food. In 2006, the Stehneys opened a second restaurant in Olathe, and in 2012, a third restaurant was opened in Leawood.

Back Napkin Restaurant Group was founded in 2016 by Zach Marten and Bret Springs. Marten and Springs are the entrepreneurial partnership behind The Rockhill Grille, the Westport Ale House and the soon-to-be opened Parkway: Social Kitchen in the Country Club Plaza.

To read more about the County Line Ice House, check out The Kansas City Star or City Scene KC.

Voters + Streetcar Authority fuel streetcar expansion plans

The KC Streetcar is not only a hot topic with riders along its Downtown route seven days a week, but also at the ballot box in Kansas City, Missouri, these days – including a special election this week.

VOTE #1 – Streetcar taxing district

Voters approved the creation of a new taxing district that could eventually lead to expansion of the Downtown starter system south 51st and Brookside and the UMKC Volker campus. The Kansas City Election Board certified the election results on Friday, which confirmed a vote of 2,458 in favor of and 1,048 again the formation of an expanded streetcar district.

Eligible voters included only those who live within the boundaries of the new taxing district (roughly from the Missouri River south to 53rd Street and from State Line east to Campbell Street). Even though 30,000 people were eligible to vote, only 3,642 cast their notarized ballots, according to The Kansas City Star on Aug. 5.

“This was critical, because if this didn’t pass, the whole thing was stopped in its tracks,” said David Johnson, a member of the KC Streetcar Authority (KCSA) board and chair of the Kansas City Regional Transit Alliance.

This election marked the first of three steps necessary to eventually build the expanded rail system some 3.75 miles from Union Station to 51st and Brookside.

“This vote establishes the transportation development district TDD boundaries to help pay for streetcar expansion,” according to Star reporter Lynn Horsley. “Two more elections are required: to elect a streetcar district board and to approve the specific local sales and property taxes needed to help fund the expansion, which is estimated to cost about $227 million.”

 

Election results prompts action by Streetcar Authority

Spurred by the resounding vote to form a TDD to fund a southern streetcar line to UMKC, the Streetcar Authority and their partners are wasting no time jump-starting the necessary engineering and planning work to make the project a reality.

On Monday, the KC Streetcar Authority (KCSA), in coordination with the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) and the City of Kansas City, Missouri (KCMO) issued notice to proceed to begin planning work on the Streetcar Southern Extension project. A team led by HDR Engineering will provide the planning and engineering services with support from Burns & McDonnell, HNTB, Trekk Design Group, Hg Consult, Parson + Associates, VSM Engineering and Architectural & Historical Research.

This phase of planning, estimated at approximately $1 million, is jointly funded by the KCSA and KCATA. The planning and engineering work is estimated to take nine months.

“We are thrilled to be working hand-in-hand with our partners with the KCATA and KCMO, to detail specific plans for a southern streetcar extension and related bus improvements connecting Downtown to University of Missouri, Kansas City’s campus,” said Tom Gerend, executive director, KCSA on Monday. “This effort is a critical step towards advancing the region’s transit vision and completing the due diligence that will be required to make this vision a reality.”

As for the voters, the next vote is set for Oct. 10, when voters within the TDD boundaries will select directors. Then, a mail-in election to approve sales taxes and property tax assessments for the TDD is scheduled to be completed by Nov. 3.

If the project clears all the elections, the streetcar could begin transporting passengers in 2022, at the earliest.

To learn more about the taxing district and the mail-in election, see The Star and The Kansas City Business Journal and visit the KC Streetcar website.

VOTE # 2 – Special Election on Tuesday (Aug. 8)

KCMO voters will go to the polls on Tuesday to weigh in on three separate questions, which sparked this special election through initiative petitions. Two of the questions are related to the streetcar system extension.

Click here to see a sample ballot for the special election.

According to the Kansas City Business Journal:

  • “Question 1 would require a citywide vote on matters related to a streetcar expansion. Johnson said the measure effectively would negate the City Council’s involvement in the process.
  • “Question 2 is a proposal from transit activist Clay Chastain to build out a citywide transit network. The wording includes a caveat for the city to build what it can afford.”

The KCRTA announced on Aug. 2 its support of Question 2, along with its opposition to Question 1.

The KCTA believes the Chastain proposal “includes a scope of work that can be scaled to available resources, assuming federal funds are made available, through a ‘build what you can’ caveat that would allow progress to continue in reasonable phases.”

“The transit appliance sees Chastain’s plan as a good antidote to Question 1…,” according to The Star on Aug. 3. ”

Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8

 

 

 

 

 

10,000 free ice cream scoops to benefit local Salvation Army

Now, here’s a sweet opportunity that’s coming to Downtown KC on Tuesday, Aug. 8.

Downtown workers, residents, visitors and, well, everyone you know can score a free scoop of Hiland Moose Tracks Ice Cream between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Power & Light District (Walnut entrance to the Live Block!)

There are no strings attached. Just show up, wait your turn, and you will be served a free scoop of ice cream on an August day.

And, here’s where this free offer gets even better. If we (all of us) turn out to consume 10,000 scoops in those four hours, then Denali Flavors, developers of the legendary Moose Tracks Ice Cream, will donate $10,000 to The Salvation Army of Kansas City.
Now, there is just one thing you can do – SPREAD THE WORD – to help ensure that Hiland serves all 10,000 scoops, so The Salvation Army captures the entire $10,000 contribution from Denali.
Share this message via email and your social media channels to your friends, co-workers, visitors and total strangers, so they will get their free scoops on Tuesday!

Here’s the skinny on the 10,000 Scoops Challenge:

WHAT: 

Denali Flavors, developers of the legendary Moose Tracks Ice Cream, is inviting members of the Kansas City community to join the 10,000 Scoops Challenge. For eight years, Denali has taken the challenge on the road, and this year, it’s Kansas City’s turn to eat for a cause.

Some 10,000 scoops of Hiland Moose Tracks Ice Cream will be served as part of the challenge – for each scoop served, Moose Tracks will donate $1 per scoop to The Salvation Army of Kansas City on Hiland Dairy’s behalf in an effort to raise $10,000 for local programs.

During the event ice cream lovers can follow Moose Tracks on Twitter @Moose_Tracks.  Visit 10,000 Scoops Challenge event page for more information!

WHERE:

  • Power & Light District 1333 Walnut St. (inside the Walnut entrance to the Live Block!)

WHEN:

  • 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8

WHO: 

  • You are invited, and you can bring friends, family, work colleagues; one scoop person limit; 10,000 scoop maximum.

MORE:

  • Visit 10,000 Scoops Challenge event page for more information!

 

 

LaunchKC begins judging hundreds of applications

LaunchKC, the global grants competition for tech entrepreneurs, completed a successful application campaign in July – topping its goal for number of applications to the 2017 competition.

About 400 applicants from 19 states and five nations were submitted by entrepreneurs who will be competing for $500,000 in LaunchKC grants that will be awarded at the Techweek Kansas City conference in September.

“LaunchKC has attracted about 1,500 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our first three years of competition,” said Drew Solomon, who chairs the competition for LaunchKC. “This year’s field is a tough one – with great talent, vision and drive clearly visible in their applications and pitch videos.”

Following an extensive judging process that begins this week, the field will be pared down by late August to 20 finalists who will compete for nine grants – including a $100,000 grand prize and eight $50,000 grants – on Friday, Sept. 15 at the Techweek KC conference.

“LaunchKC has attracted about 1,500 applications from throughout the nation and the world during our first three years of competition,” said Drew Solomon, who chairs the competition for LaunchKC. “This year’s field is a tough one – with great talent, vision and drive clearly visible in their applications and pitch videos.”

LaunchKC is a nonprofit initiative of the Downtown Council of Kansas City, in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

LaunchKC is fueled by the visionary support of corporate, public and philanthropic partners, including:

  • Strategic: Missouri Technology Corporation, the City of Kansas City, Missouri
  • Visionary: Kansas City Power & Light District, William T. Kemper Foundation, UMB Bank
  • Contributing: Burns & McDonnell, Google Fiber, KCP&L, Lead Bank, Husch Blackwell, Missouri Department of Economic Development, Polsinelli, Techweek
  • Emerging: J.E. Dunn Construction, Lathrop & Gage
  • Friends: Allied Global, ITEN, Marriott Downtown Kansas City
  • Supporters: Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Center, Regnier Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurships, Think Big Partners, UMKC Bloch School of Business

 

 

 

Downtown Office Summit reflects strength, optimism

View of Downtown Kansas City from the rooftop of the Corrigan Station, which served as home to the Downtown Office Summit on Wednesday.

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.