Survey to shape long-range parking plan for Crossroads

Employees, residents, students and visitors of the Crossroads Arts District are the focus of City-driven survey of parking- and transportation-related issues. The survey will be available for the next 30 days.

A long-range parking plan for the Crossroads Arts District is the goal of a new parking and transportation survey that has been introduced by the City of Kansas City and Walker Parking Consultants.

As part of the planning process, the City wants to learn more about parking and travel patterns of Crossroads employees, residents, students and visitors, and gauge attitudes toward parking- and transportation-related issues.

Your input will help shape solutions that will enable us to provide for effective and efficient use of our public parking assets with a goal of ensuring public access to and within the Crossroads Arts District.

To participate in the survey, click here.

 

LaunchKC to offer $100K grand prize; applications begin in 1 week

Rachel Merlo, chair of the LaunchKC Steering Committee, announced plans for the new, $100,000 grand prize grant that will be awarded during Techweek KC in September.

LaunchKC, the global grants competition for tech entrepreneurs, will begin accepting applications next Wednesday, March 1 for it third annual event – this year featuring a $100,000 grand prize grant.

LaunchKC has awarded $1 million to 20 entrepreneurs – from six states and three nations – via $50,000 grants in its first two years of competition. The 2017 competition will feature another $500,000 grant pool that will be awarded in September to the judges’ selection of the top nine applications – including one $100,000 grand prize grant recipient, along with eight $50,000 grant winners.

The introduction of a $100,000 grant prize was announced by Rachel Merlo, chair of the LaunchKC Steering Committee and community manager of Google Fiber in Kansas City. The announcement came at the Downtown Council’s Annual Luncheon on Jan. 27 before 1,000 business, civic and community leaders, as well as at a special LaunchKC Kickoff Celebration on Feb. 1 before 150 sponsors, former grant recipients and leaders in the KC tech space.

“The third LaunchKC competition provided us with the opportunity to introduce a grand prize in 2017,” said Drew Solomon, who chairs the competition for LaunchKC. “We believe the $100,000 grand prize will pique interest and applications from tech entrepreneurs throughout the nation.”

Entrepreneurs who enter the LaunchKC grants competition will be seeking one of eight $50,000 grants – of course, with an eye on the $100,000 grand prize grant – in addition to one year of free office space in Downtown KC; industry-specific mentor teams; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders in Kansas City.

The application window opens at 8 a.m. (CDT) next Wednesday, March 1 and will remain open until 11:59 p.m. Friday, July 7. The online application will be available on LaunchKC.org.

The application window closes, LaunchKC judges will begin work evaluating and scoring each application. They will work throughout July and August to review and cull the list of applicants until they settle on on 20 finalists by Thursday, Aug. 24.

The finalists will be invited to Techweek Kansas City, where they will pitch their business plans before a live panel of judges – along with the Techweek audience – before the final nine grant recipients are selected on Friday, Sept. 15.

For more information, visit LaunchKC.org. And, remember, the application window opens next Wednesday!

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.

LaunchKC raises the bar for the 2017 grants competition

LaunchKC awarded $500,000 in grants to these 10 grant recipient companies on the final day of the Techweek Kansas City conference in September.LaunchKC is in the news again … this time with the Startland Newswhich reported on Friday:

 

Kansas City’s popular grants competition LaunchKC has raised the stakes for applicants in 2017.

Instead of allocating $500,000 via 10 equally-sized grants, LaunchKC will dish out eight awards of $50,000 and one $100,000 grand prize. In 2016, LaunchKC drew more than 400 tech startup applicants for the second year in a row.

Applications open on March 1.

Drew Solomon, chair of the LaunchKC grants competition, said that the new grand prize aims to generate more excitement and even more applicants.

The $100,000 prize is another way to use the competition to reach out to companies around the country and the world and push the envelope for Kansas City,” Solomon said. “We want to continue to be creative to stay relevant. Relevancy is key for competitions like this. Kansas City is part of a big world so we have to continue to innovate.”

In addition to a grant, a winning entrepreneur receives other benefits, http://www.downtownkc.org/including free office space for one year; industry-specific mentors; and professional services, in areas such as legal, financial, and marketing. The grant competition is led by the Downtown Council of Kansas City and the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

Winners of the 2016 LaunchKC grants were: Big Bang, BLITAB, ConsultUS, FEWDM, Forest Devices, Labor Chart, Mobility Designed, Mycroft AI, Perfect Cube and Super Dispatch.

Winners of the 2015 LaunchKC grants were: Blooom, Integrated Roadways, KC Drone Company, Nodal Security, Health ID, PopBookings, Pycno, SquareOffs, Vertisense and VideoFizz.

LaunchKC will be hosting a 2017 Kickoff Celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 1 for those interested in learning more about the program. For more information for this free event or to register for passes, click here.

Research results: KC streetcar is a win for Downtown businesses

Ninety-seven percent of survey respondents credit the streetcar with having a positive impact on their retail business

According to a recent survey of small businesses located on the KC streetcar route, business is good and many are seeing an uptick in both revenue numbers and foot traffic.

In a unique partnership, the City of Kansas City’s Biz Care Office, the Downtown Council and the Streetcar Authority conducted a survey of retail businesses located directly on the streetcar route. This survey was performed during the fall of 2016 and includes data from May through September 2016.  Forty-one small businesses participated in the survey with a sampling from each district along the streetcar route. Businesses ranged from restaurants, retail shops, bars & pubs, and coffee shops.

“Much attention has been paid to new development along the streetcar route,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.  “This was an effort to better understand the impact of streetcar operations on existing businesses, many who have been with us since before construction.”

“The City is committed to working with Downtown businesses to make the most of this important investment,” said John Pajor, City of Kansas City, Mo.

Of those businesses that participated in the survey, 97 percent credited the streetcar with having a positive impact on their business and 80 percent have experienced a positive change in revenue. This revenue percentage aligns with the 83 percent of participants that expressed a positive change in foot traffic.

“We are excited about the benefits the streetcar is bringing to Downtown businesses and look forward to what the future holds,” said Mike Hurd, Director of Marketing of the Downtown Council.

In addition to seven multiple choice questions, there were two questions asked that allowed businesses to elaborate on what streetcar related improvements they’d like to see that would benefit their business.  Of the 26 that responded, nine expressed interest in expanding the streetcar line and six expressed interest in either additional parking or a park & ride lot for transit users.

The KC Streetcar opened to the public on May 6, 2016.  In 2016, the streetcar logged nearly 1.4 million trips with a daily average of 5,830.

 

 

Downtown Council to celebrate accomplishments, opportunities

Christopher Leinberger will deliver the keynote address at the Downtown Council Annual Luncheon today in the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center.

The Downtown Council will celebrate the ongoing revitalization of Downtown Kansas City before 1,000 stakeholders and guests today (Friday), while reminding its members and civic leadership that its renaissance is far from complete.

The occasion will be the Downtown Council’s Annual Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Friday, Jan. 27 in the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center. This year’s luncheon will carry the theme of Downtown KC: Back in the Game and celebrate the remarkable revitalization of Downtown over the last 15 years.

“This was a banner year for Downtown Kansas City,” said Bill Dietrich, President & CEO of the Downtown Council. “The KC Streetcar began operations and topped its first 1 million rides in just five months of operations; five new hotels have opened or are under construction; the first new construction, luxury, residential high-rise building opened, along with a second elementary school bringing 576 students and their families Downtown.”

The 2017 luncheon program will feature several highlights that will serve to celebrate accomplishments in Downtown, as well as to set the course for new and ongoing initiatives for the coming years. Highlights include:

  • Keynote address by Christopher Leinberger, The Charles Bendit Distinguished Scholar and Research Professor, George Washington University School of Business and a Nonresident Senior Fellow at The Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Leinberger will address creating a vital Downtown by improving relationships with adjacent communities, discussing the impact of regional issues on Downtown and improving pedestrian mobility.
    • To learn more about Leinberger’s knowledge of KC, check out this 2012 KCPT story about the potential impact that the future streetcar (via transit-oriented development) would have on Downtown.
  • LaunchKC announcement by Rachel Merlo, KC Community Impact Manager for Google Fiber, and Chair, LaunchKC Steering Committee
  • Downtown accomplishments by Douglas Stockman, Principal, el dorado architects, and Cathy Smith, Vice President of Corporate Planning, Faultless Starch/Bon Ami, and Chairs of the DTC Board of Directors for 2016 and 2017, respectively
  • Five individuals will be recognized with Urban Hero Awards for their contributions toward making Downtown a better and more vibrant place to live, work and play, including:
    • Andrew Bracker, Brownfields Coordinator, City of Kansas City
    • Vince Bryant, 3D Development
    • Deb Churchill, City Market
    • Julie Nelson Meers, mobank
    • Matt Staub, Streetcar Advocate

The DTC’s highest honor, the  Philip Kirk, Jr. Award, in Recognition of Community Vision and Downtown Stewardship to Albert P. Mauro. Mauro served as Chairman of the DTC Board of Directors from 1992-1998, a pivotal time in the turnaround of a declining urban core.

“We will tell the story of Downtown’s recent economic and social revitalization and reflect on the impact of these and other changes,” Dietrich explained. “We will also provide updates on the exciting new projects that are coming closer to fruition including moving the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance to Downtown; extending the streetcar south toward UMKC and the Plaza; and planning for a new Downtown KC high school.”

The Annual Luncheon event will begin at 11 a.m. Friday with a one-hour Spirit of Downtown KC Exhibit showing more than 40 Downtown businesses and organizations.

Click here to see a list of exhibitors: http://www.downtownkc.org/annual-luncheon/exhibit/. The exhibit will make way for the luncheon and program, beginning at noon.

For more information, go to http://www.downtownkc.org/annual-luncheon/.

Downtown Dazzle to feature Urban Homes Tour on Saturday

Alex Walter and Carolina Holden of Kansas City enjoy apartment living downtown in the Crossroads area on Main Street. They live in the brand-new 1914 Main building. (Photo by KC Star.)

Alex Walter and Carolina Holden of Kansas City enjoy apartment living in Downtown KC in the Crossroads area on Main Street.

Downtown Dazzle shows off Downtown living during its inaugural Urban Homes Tour of 20 Downtown residential properties from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Downtown Dazzle is back for a third consecutive year, connecting all Downtown Kansas City holiday events and festivities via the KC Streetcar and special Downtown Dazzle trolleys, this weekend and next.

The Urban Living Tour, a free look at 20 residential properties in Downtown KC, is set for Saturday, as part of the Downtown Dazzle holiday event schedule.

The Urban Living Tour, a free look at 20 residential properties in Downtown KC, is set for Saturday, as part of the Downtown Dazzle holiday event schedule.

The Urban Homes Tour will welcome guests to enjoy viewing urban living spaces and luxury amenities at each of the 20 participating properties, as well as special holiday experiences, such as holiday cookies, seasonal cocktails, raffles, contests, and more.

The self-guided tour is free and open to the public. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by visiting www.DazzleKC.com. Guests are encouraged to ride the KC Streetcar to connect them to the participating properties on the tour.

Each guest will receive an Urban Homes Tour Passport to stamp at each property visited. Passport holders who visit six or more properties during the Urban Homes Tour will be eligible to win a special prize package that includes a suite stay at One Light Luxury Apartments, in the heart of the Power & Light District.

Passports will be handed out along with an Urban Homes Tour map at guest registration, which is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday at either Union Station or Visit KC’s offices in Downtown Kansas City.

Participating Properties
Title Level:

  • Board of Trade Lofts, 500 Delaware St.
  • EBT Lofts, 1601 Walnut St.
  • Fountains Lofts, 712 Broadway Blvd.
  • Pickwick Plaza, 933 McGee St.
  • SKY on Main Luxury Apartments, 910 Main St.
  • Freight House Lofts at Stuart Hall, 2121 Central St.
  • Switzer Lofts, 1829 Madison Ave.
  • Trolley Park Lofts, 412 W. Eighth St.

Platinum Level:

  • One Light Luxury Apartments, 50 E. 13th St.
  • Two Light Luxury Apartments, 1251 Main St.
  • Union Carbide Condos, 912 Baltimore Ave.

Gold Level:

  • 909 Walnut, 909 Walnut St.
  • Centropolis on Grand, 501 Grand Blvd.
  • Quality Hill Square Apartments, 425 West Ninth St.
  • Wallstreet Tower, 1101 Walnut St.

Silver Level:

  • Quality Hill Apartments, 1003 Broadway Blvd.
  • The Argyle on 12th, 306 East 12th St.
  • UC-B Properties, Multiple properties in the Beacon Hill neighborhood

For more about Downtown Dazzle, visit www.DazzleKC.com, like Downtown Dazzle at www.Facebook.com/DowntownDazzle, and follow on Twitter and Instagram at @DazzleKC and @DowntownDazzle, respectively.

Downtown Council to honor 6 urban champions in January

The Downtown Council will celebrate Downtown champions and milestones - including the 7-month-old KC Streetcar - at its Annual Luncheon in January.

The Downtown Council will celebrate Downtown champions and milestones – including the 7-month-old KC Streetcar – at its Annual Luncheon in January.

The Downtown Council will honor six champions at its annual meeting in January for their contributions to the renaissance of Downtown.

The awards will be presented at the DTC’s Annual Luncheon on Friday, Jan. 27 in the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center. This year’s luncheon will carry the theme of Downtown KC: Back in the Game and celebrate the remarkable revitalization of Downtown over the last 15 years.

The luncheon serves as a beacon to more than 1,000 guests each year to celebrate accomplishments in Downtown, as well as to set the course for new and ongoing initiatives for the coming years. The annual awards are one of the highlights of this showcase for urban accomplishments.

This year’s luncheon will honor six individuals for their outstanding contributions to the advancement of Downtown, including:

  • The DTC’s highest honor, the  Philip Kirk, Jr.Award, in Recognition of Community Vision and Downtown Stewardship to Albert P. Mauro. Mauro served as chairman of the DTC Board of Directors from 1992-1998, a pivotal time in the turnaround of a declining urban core.
  • Five individuals will be recognized with Urban Hero Awards for their contributions toward making Downtown a better and more vibrant place to live, work and play, including:
    • Andy Bracker, Brownfields Coordinator, City of Kansas City, Missouri
    • Vince Bryant, 3D Development
    • Deb Churchill, City Market
    • Julie Nelson Meers, Missouri Bank
    • Matt Staub, Streetcar Advocate

“This was a banner year for Downtown Kansas City,” said Bill Dietrich, president & CEO of the Downtown Council. “The KC Streetcar began operations and topped its first one million rides in just five months of operations; five new hotels have opened or are under construction; the first new construction, luxury, residential high-rise building opened, along with a new elementary school bringing 576 students and their families Downtown.”

In addition to the awards, the Annual Luncheon will illuminate the recent accomplishments of Downtown, and set a course for the future of Kansas City’s urban heart.

“We will tell the story of Downtown’s recent economic and social revitalization and reflect on the impact of these and other changes,” Dietrich explained. “We will also provide updates on the exciting new projects that are coming closer to fruition including moving the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance to Downtown; extending the streetcar south toward UMKC and the Plaza; and planning for a new Downtown KC high school.”

The keynote speaker will be Christopher Leinberger, the nationally regarded land use strategist, teacher, professor, developer and author. Leinberger will speak to the Kansas City audience about creating a vital Downtown by improving relationships with adjacent communities, discussing the impact of regional issues on Downtown and improving pedestrian mobility.

Leinberger, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., is an op-ed contributor to The New York Times, writes regularly for The Atlantic Monthly and numerous other magazines. His most recent book is The Option of Urbanism, Investing in a New American Dream.

 For more information or to purchase tickets to the Downtown Council luncheon, go to http://www.downtownkc.org/annual-luncheon/

 

 

 

KCFAA to present Symposium on Race, Place, Diversity

diversity-programKansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey (KCFAA) is preparing its third annual Symposium on Race, Place and Diversity – designed to direct attention to the importance of race and diversity locally, regionally and nationally – on Thursday, Nov. 10 in the historic 18th & Vine District.

“Our goal is to deliver information and experiences that will challenge, impact, inspire and influence one’s outlook on race, place and diversity,” said KCFAA Chief Artistic Officer and Symposium coordinator Tyrone Aiken.

“Examining our social constructs, how they impact our reality and influence our beliefs on diversity is ongoing and changes with time,” Aiken added.

“Three years ago Kansas City Friends of Alvin Ailey committed to adding a five-year diversity Symposium series as a way to further illustrate our mission of teaching young people critical life skills and modeling interracial and multi-cultural community partnerships… it all starts with an open mind and a discussion,” Aiken explained.

KCFAA’s Symposium: Our Country. Our Past. One Future. will consist of lunch and afternoon breakout sessions lead by industry leaders in diversity.

An evening Post-Election Town Hall Meeting will cover the outcome of the 2017 local and national elections and current state and future of Kansas City.

“You’re going to hear some things that you may disagree with…some things that might make you uncomfortable. But that’s what this program is all about.

“Our goal is to deliver information and experiences that will impact, inspire and influence one’s outlook on race, place and diversity,” Aiken said.

The Symposium – featuring a lunch and opening remarks, followed by two breakout sessions – will run from 12 to 4:15 p.m. The afternoon-long program will cost $60, and includes the meal, both Breakout Sessions, the Town Hall Meeting and a Symposium t-shirt.

The Town Hall Meeting will run from 7:30-9 p.m. at the Gem Theater. This session is free, although a donation of $15 is recommended.

For more information or to register, visit kcfaa.org.

Zipcar is ready for business in Downtown KC

Mayor Sly James, Councilman Jermaine Reed and other City leaders gathered outside of Union Station on Monday to welcome Zipcar service to Downtown.

Mayor Sly James, Councilman Jermaine Reed and other City leaders gathered at Union Station on Monday to welcome Zipcar service to Downtown.

Zipcar, an international car-sharing service, was introduced in Downtown Kansas City on Monday, where eight vehicles at four new Downtown locations will provide service. Zipcar allows drivers to rent a car by the hour or by the day, seven days per week through a mobile app.

Zipcars will be based at these four locations: Union Station, 19th & Main streets; 14th Street & Baltimore; and 3rd & Delaware streets in the River Market. The stations are aligned along the Downtown streetcar route from River Market to Union Station and have been touted as a way for people to rely less on their own cars.

Zipcars can be reserved by the hour or by the day and are parked in designated spots for pick-up and drop-off. The cars can be accessed in minutes by downloading the Zipcar app and signing up. The Downtown fleet features a variety of makes and models with KC-specific names, including a Subaru Crosstrek named “Royal,” a Nissan Versa dubbed “Scout” and a Jeep Renegade called “Chief”.

“This unique service will certainly add tremendous benefit and mobility options to our Downtown corridor,” said Mayor Sly James. “We’ve got more people living Downtown than ever before and more people are in the process of making the move. I’m grateful Zipcar has chosen to expand Downtown and I’m excited to see the increased connectivity and mobility of our residents.”

Zipcar’s expansion strengthens Kansas City’s efforts to add transit options and to make Downtown easier to traverse for pedestrians, bicyclists, streetcar riders and motorists.

Zipcar already has two cars at Kansas City International Airport and two more at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. While the company has declined to provide details about demand for those cars, it has said the expansion Downtown is indicative of the performance so far.

“We are so pleased with the support we have received from the city,” said Nef Albino, general manager for the Kansas City region.

Albino said customers can join online or with a mobile app, according to The Kansas City Star. The membership cost is $7 a month or $70 a year, and then there’s the cost for the drive time. For first-time or infrequent users, the hourly rate starts at $8.50 but varies based on the vehicle make and model. People can reserve by the hour or day, or up to a year in advance. Gas, insurance and daily mileage are included in the price. Vehicles can be driven up to 180 miles in a day but must be returned to the original location.

Architect Magazine shines bright light on KC architectural firms

architect-50-design

Five Downtown Council-member architectural firms are among a list of seven Kansas City area firms ranked among the nation’s finest by Architect Magazine, the journal of the American Institute of Architects (AIA).

“We’re always pleased to see AIA Kansas City member firms in the spotlight on a national level, especially recognition like Architect Magazine’s annual Architect 50 list,” said Dawn Taylor, executive director of the AIA Kansas City1801 McGee #100.

“Seven of our 75 member firms made one or more of the Architect 50 lists,” Taylor said. “I took special note of the Design category, where Kansas City had more firms represented than Dallas, St. Louis, or Minneapolis; and we tied with NYC, Portland, and Seattle.”

The publication recently released the results of its annual Architect 50 Survey. Click here for the complete article. Architect Magazine sets out annually to review firms across the country and determine those who ranks highest in the categories of business, design and sustainability.

Among the local firms selected for this prestigious list, four are located in Downtown and five are Downtown Council members, including:

  • BNIM, 1735 Baltimore #300, ranked 25th overall; 4th in Sustainability, 51st in Design and 105th in Business
  • el dorado inc, 510 Avenida Cesar E. Chavez, ranked 11th in Design
  • Helix Architecture + Design1629 Walnut, #39 in Design
  • HOK, 300 W. 22 St., 16th overall, 11th in Sustainability, 47th in Design and 50th in Business,
  • Populous, 4800 Main St. #300, 27th in Business

Two other Kansas City metro firms, Hufft Projects3612 Karnes Blvd., was ranked 38th in Design; and DLR Group, 7290 W. 133rd St., was 23rd overall; 20th in Business, 25th in Sustainability and 66th in Design.

We invited each of the Downtown Council member honorees to comment about their recognition:

“It is gratifying that our building positive approach and its impact is recognized,” said Steve McDowell, CEO of BNIM, “and that BNIM is honored to be listed so highly among the nation’s best firms on the Architect 50. Each day, we are lucky enough to work with clients who empower us to continue building positive attributes of community and the built environment with the goal of discovering new things.”

Doug Stockman, Principal of el dorado inc., chairs the DTC Board of Directors this year. He invited one of his colleagues to provide the firm’s response:

“2016 marks our 20th year of commitment to design excellence in architecture and fabrication,” said el dorado Principal Josh Shelton. “We are thrilled that the survey places us amongst firms we’ve long looked to for design inspiration and business guidance.”

“Needless to say, Helix is very proud to have been recognized as one of the top 50 Design firms in the nation. And we are equally proud of the fact that our city holds other firms with such a distinction,” said Jay Tomlinson, Helix Principal. “To realize that fully 10% of the firms recognized nationally for excellence reside within Kansas City is another indicator of just how strong the creative community is here.”

“It’s an honor to be recognized as one of the nation’s top architecture firms by Architect Magazine. While we work all across the globe, we’re most proud of the impact we’ve had locally on more than 200+ projects and more than 8 million square feet of space in Downtown Kansas City alone,” said Tom Waggoner, Managing Principal of HOK’s Kansas City practice. “When we became HOK, we were excited about the opportunities to bring a top-tier firm to the city and use the brand, resources and thought leadership to shape our city.”

For more information, visit Architect Magazine.

KC Streetcar tops 1 million rides in just 5 months

Mayor Sly James gives a thumbs-up to the KC Streetcar, which just topped 1 million riders in its first five months of operations.

Mayor Sly James gives a thumbs-up to the KC Streetcar, which just topped 1 million riders in its first five months of operations.

In just 5 months of service, the Kansas City Streetcar completed its one millionth ride.

During the lunch hour, on Friday, Oct. 7, the KC Streetcar marked its one millionth ride.  As a sign of appreciation, Mayor Sly James, the entire Kansas City Streetcar team, the Downtown Council and other partners are saying “Thank you” to all those that made this milestone possible with a “Thanks a Million, KC!” community celebration on Thursday, Oct. 13, from 5-8 p.m. along 14th Street, between Main and Walnut streets, in the Kansas City Power & Light District.  There will be games, giveaways and live music provided by Art in the Loop performer, Amado Espinoza, local funk/rock/soul band The Phantastics and live art provided by J.T. Daniels.

“This milestone is a clear sign of the success of the KC Streetcar,” Mayor James said. “I’m incredibly grateful to the KC Streetcar Authority and its efforts to help make the starter line not only a reality, but a huge success. The KC Streetcar continues to exceed even our wildest expectations and it’s more important than ever that we keep this momentum going.”

Since opening day on May 6, streetcar ridership has steadily increased with a daily average of 6,600 passengers. The previous projected daily ridership average was 2,700. Weekends tend to be the busiest, with the highest ridership day of 15,780 being on July 16, a Saturday.  July saw the highest ridership totals with 233,683 rides during that month. Since May 2016, the Kansas City Streetcar fleet has traveled a combined 64,796 miles.

“The Kansas City community is riding the streetcar in far greater numbers than anyone ever imagined and today we say “thank you” for the amazing support. It is our hope this is just the beginning and a sign of even better things to come,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority.

Streetcar ridership, otherwise known as Unlinked Passenger Trips, is calculated by Automated Passenger Counters (APC) located over each door of each streetcar. Passengers are counted as they board and exit the streetcars, and the data collected shows which stops are the most used and which hours of the day are the busiest.  The ridership data is downloaded daily and reviewed by a third-party for accuracy. During July, members from the Ride KC team performed thirty manual passenger checks in order to check for accuracy. The conclusion of that activity was that the APC counts are within 1.4% accuracy of the manual counts.

To follow the project of the KC Streetcar,  go online at kcstreetcar.org and on Twitter (@kcstreetcar), Facebook (@kcstreetcar) and Instagram.