ULI panel to study, advise on redevelopment north of Loop

An Urban Land Institute panel of nationally renowned experts on land use and urban planning will be in Downtown Kansas City this week to study and advise the City on strategies for redevelopment north of the Downtown Loop.


A group of nationally renowned land use and urban planning experts has been convened by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to make recommendations to the City of Kansas City on the redevelopment of an area north of the Downtown “Loop” that includes decommissioning and reusing a portion of Interstate-70.

The panel, composed of land use professionals representing all aspects of urban design and urban development, was convened through ULI’s advisory services program. The panelists will be in Kansas City this week (today through Friday) to analyze local market conditions and provide recommendations for transforming the north section of the interstate into a high-impact development that will:

  1. Increase development density in Downtown,
  2. Generate property tax revenues,
  3. Improve land value,
  4. Boost employment,
  5. Catalyze development opportunities in adjacent communities.

The panel, which consists of leading ULI members from outside Kansas City, is building on work conducted by a panel of local ULI members in 2016.

In drafting its recommendations the panel will be considering such factors as:

  • The optimal use for the site considering the impact to the adjacent communities, Kansas City’s goals and vision for its future development, and the effects on transportation infrastructure;
  • Successful examples in other cities that involve greater benefits from reducing highway capacity rather than maintaining current roadway networks;
  • Examples of phasing the development;
  • The most effective mix of land uses (public, private, commercial and residential);
  • A recommended timeline for the development; and
  • Available funding mechanisms for all phases of the development process

During the week, the panelists will tour the study area and Kansas City and spend two days meeting and interviewing
stakeholders from the public and private sector. After carefully analyzing the site and completing the interviews, the
panelists will then frame their recommendations and draft a presentation that will be made to the public at the conclusion of the visit on Friday.

The ULI panel’s recommendations will be presented to the public from 9-11 a.m. Friday at the KCP&L Energy Center, 1200 Main St. Simply click here to RSVP for this free program.

ULI leader Glenda E. Hood, founding partner of triSect, LLC in Orlando, Fla., is the chairman of the advisory panel that will be visiting Kansas City. A former mayor of Orlando, Hood advocated thoughtful growth strategies in that city to create safe, livable neighborhoods, a revitalized Downtown and a strong local economy.

“We’re excited to bring ULI’s expertise to Kansas City,” Hood said. “We are aiming to demonstrate how the reuse of this area can contribute to the city’s overall economic prosperity, livability, investment appeal, and competitiveness.”

Hood will be joined by panelists Dean D. Bellas, president, Urban Analytics, Inc., Alexandria, Va.; Bill Clarke, planning consultant, Ross, Calif.; David Greensfelder, managing principal, Greensfelder Commercial Real Estate LLC, San Francisco, Calif.; April Anderson Lamoureux, president, Anderson Strategic Advisors, LLC, Boston, Mass.;
Todd Meyer, principal and director of planning and urban design, Forum Studio, Chicago, Ill.; Bill Rogalla, principal and director of acquisitions and dispositions, Zeller Realty Group, Chicago, Ill.; Adam Weers, principal, Trammell Crow Company, Washington, D.C., and John Paul Weesner, director of landscape architecture, Kittelson & Associates, Inc., Orlando, Fla.

Now in its 70th year, the ULI advisory services program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panels have developed more than 700 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from waterfront properties to inner-city retail.

According to Thomas Eitler, senior vice president of ULI’s advisory services program, the strength of the program lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the substantial knowledge of its 40,000-plus members, including land developers, engineers public officials, academics, lenders, architects, planners and urban designers.

“The independent views of the panelists bring a fresh perspective to the land use challenge,” Eitler said. “The advisory services program is about offering creative, innovative approaches to community building.”

Past sponsors of ULI advisory service panels include: federal, state and local government agencies; regional councils of government; chambers of commerce; redevelopment authorities; private developers and property owners; community development corporations; lenders; historic preservation groups; non-profit community groups; environmental organizations and economic development agencies.

Techweek takes center stage in local tech scene this week

Techweek returns to Kansas City for its third annual technology / entrepreneur conference + festival this week – Monday through Friday. The local LaunchKC grant competition for tech startups will anchor the conference on Friday.

The third annual Techweek Kansas City conference + festival returns to KC on today (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. Innovation Partnership Program Demo Day at We Work; 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 Touch Tomorrow at the Cerner Northland campus; 5:30 p.m. Official Happy Hour at VML
  • Wednesday, Sept. 13 – 9 a.m. Why Communities Should Be Investing in Inclusivity at We Work; 11 a.m. Demand Generation at ECJC; 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. Program begins at 8 a.m. with Women in Tech Breakfast. Sessions are planned for the entire day, including a Hiring Fair at noon. All sessions are set for the at the Plexpod Westport Commons.
  • 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 Monday through Friday, 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.”



Downtown KC Art Crawl – Wed., Sep. 13

The Art in the Loop Foundation invites you to the Downtown KC Art Crawl on Wednesday, September 13, 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. This tour will be an engaging opportunity to learn more about the Art in the Park and Art on the Line artwork that is included the 2017 Art in the Loop Project: “Cue!” We will ride KC Streetcar to selected works of art, where several of the artists will speak about their installations.
The crawl begins at the Kansas City Artists Coalition, currently showing the River Market Regional Exhibition: Trust, Truth, Transcend. There will be brief remarks and then at 5:15 we will hop onboard KC Streetcar. The tour ends with a reception in City Market Park. (In the event of inclement weather the reception will relocate to KC Artists Coalition.)

Tickets are $10 each. Register at https://2017artcrawl.eventbrite.com.

Contact Ann Holliday, ann@downtownkc.org for additional information.

This event is produced by the Art in the Loop Foundation and our partners KC StreetcarKC Municipal Art CommissionKC Office of Culture & Creative ServicesKC Artists CoalitionCity Market and KC Public Library. Click here for a complete list of our sponsors, supporters, and partners.


About Art in the Loop

This event is part of the 2017 Art in the Loop Project:  Cue! The project is made possible through the generous support of KC Streetcar; the City of Kansas City, Missouri; the Missouri Arts CouncilArts KC and our corporate sponsors including Stinson Leonard StreetHenderson EngineersJE Dunn ConstructionMcCownGordon ConstructionPort KC and UMB Financial Corporation.

We appreciate in-kind support and guidance provided by the Downtown Council, the Downtown and River Market Community Improvement DistrictsKCMO-Public Works DepartmentKC Streetcar, the City MarketKansas City Public LibraryKansas City Art InstituteFolk Alliance International and The Bridge 90.9.

For more information about the project and artists, visit  artintheloop.comfacebook.com/artintheloop, or twitter.com/ArtintheLoop

Nominations open for annual Downtown KC awards

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

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

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

Urban Hero Award

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

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

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

Pat Ottensmeyer, 2016 Kirk Honoree Al Mauro and Steve Dunn

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


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

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

What’s lighting up Downtown KC this week? – July 3-9

Independence Day is the hottest attraction of the coming week, but Downtown Kansas City is home to a healthy diet of tasty arts and entertainment celebrations for the week ahead. Here is the highlight reel of what’s happening in Downtown KC from Monday to Sunday, July 3-9:

CrossroadsKC at Grinders will celebrates its independence this week with two awesome outdoor shows:

  • 311 – a mix rock, rap, reggae and funk into their own unique sound – has developed a reputation as one of the hardest working, most influential and most entertaining live bands in the U.S. 311 returns to Downtown at 7:30 p.m. Monday. Special guests include New Politics and The Skints.
  • Future Fields, A New Sensory Experience, will feature Le Youth, Quixotic, Sheppa, Blk Mario, Casio McCombs & more will take flight at 8 p.m. Saturday.

First Friday – one of the KC’s coolest/hottest events of the year – returns for its July festivities with visual and performing arts bursting throughout Downtown with:

Hollywood the Musicala melodrama stage musical, is a story that’s meant to inspire young artists to find their true identity and to be true to who they are. This family production hits the stage at 2:30 and 7 p.m. Saturday at the Folly Theater.

Jill Scott is coming to the Midland on Thursday. Downtown KC may never be the same.

Jill Scott – the tour de force Grammy-winning singer-songwriter, New York Times best selling poet, and critically acclaimed actress – will perform in concert at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Midland Theatre.

KC Riverfest – Kansas City’s Independence Day celebration – featuring fireworks (beginning at 9:40 p.m.), music, food, drinks and family fun is set for Tuesday, July 4 in Berkley Riverfront Park. Entertainment begins at 4:45 p.m. with two stages of bands and DJs, plus a National Wrasslin’ League matches. headlining the entertainment will be Members Only at 8:15 p.m. and Flanagan’s Right Hook at 7 p.m.. For ticket information, parking tips, entertainment schedule and more, visit KCRiverfest.com.

Lunchtime Arts Series – Catch one of two free, lunchtime arts events this week:

Queen + Adam Lambert will bring an entirely new meaning to “fireworks,” when they rock Downtown on Sunday at the Sprint Center.

Mummies of the World: The Exhibition has arrived at Union Station! Described as “fascinating, intriguing, and inspiring,” by NBC, “absolutely extraordinary,” by NPR and “a must see,” by FOX TV, Mummies of the World instills a sense of curiosity and wonder in each and every visitor. Having been visited by more than 1.6 million people nationwide, Mummies of the World: The Exhibition is one of the most popular museum exhibitions traveling North America. For tickets and more information, visit UnionStation.org/Mummies.

OneRepublicone of the country’s hottest pop rock bands, has its sights set of Downtown Kansas City this week with a concert date at 7 p.m. Friday at the Sprint Center.  Opening acts include Fitz & The Tantrums and James Arthur.

Power & Light District will light up Downtown with back-to-back nights of live music:

  • Noe Palma will get the weekend cookin’ with a free concert – part of the summer Hot Country Nights series – at 7 p.m. Thursday at Kansas City Live! All ages and families are welcome. Anyone under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. 21+ and over after 9 p.m.
  • Pirates Party – Sprint Family Fun Days offers a free opportunity for families to explore Downtown KC through a treasure find, drums with Brandon Draper’s Drum Safari, climbing to the top of the Lost Temple and splashing through the Super Splash Slide. Activities include live music, bounce houses, games, arts & crafts and more. This free party is set for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday on 14th Street between Main & Walnut streets.

Queen + Adam Lambert – Since their first meeting on the final of American Idol in May 2009, Queen + Adam Lambert’s magical combination has been recognized worldwide.  Brian May, Roger Taylor + Adam Lambert will debut a brand new show specially designed and created for this outing, bringing fans all their favorite Queen hits. The much-anticipated tour will rock KC at 8 p.m. Sunday at Sprint Center.

Remembering the Great War – Historian James Heiman examines the Liberty Memorial’s place among the city’s Great War memorials. He draws from his book Voices in Bronze and Stone:  Kansas City’s World War I Monuments and Memorials is this presentation at 2 p.m. Sunday in the Central Library. RSVP now.

Weekender: The Parent Trap – Cap off your week with top local bands and favorite food trucks. Shop the wares of KC artisans and finish the evening with a famous flick under the stars. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., with the movie starting at approximately 9 p.m. FREE admission. Only at Crown Center.

The Wizard of Oz performed by the Paul Mesner Puppets is howing now through Sunday at the MTH Theater at Crown Center.

LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, which feature these three performances this week:

  • Garfield – The Musical with Cattitude – Everyone’s favorite feline and his friends are on stage this summer to perform a musical for all ages. Garfield runs through Aug. 6 at The Coterie at Crown Center.
  • You’ve Got A Friend – Turn back the clock to the 1960s and 70s for this cabaret celebration of the music of the Baby Boomer generation. Enjoy hearing favorites from Carole King, James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Janis Ian, and Peter, Paul and Mary, all performed by a dynamite vocal trio backed by piano, bass, and drums. Performances continue through Sunday, July 9 at the Quality Hill Playhouse.

ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:

LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:

MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:

For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com

Public Parking Maps of Downtown KC are available at DowntownKC.org.

Loews Hotels to join with KC Hotel Developers on Convention Hotel

KANSAS CITY, MO – Loews Hotels & Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of Loews Corporation, and KC Hotel Developers LLC announced a partnership this morning to build the new Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel.  Loews Hotels is a joint equity partner in this venture. Construction will begin later this year for a grand opening in early 2020.

Welcoming guests for nearly six decades, Loews Hotels has become a leader in distinctive properties that cater to groups, business, leisure, and family travelers in key urban and resort destinations throughout the United States and Canada.

“Adding to our hotel landscape with a new convention center hotel is very exciting for Kansas City,” said the Hon. Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City. “To be able to leverage the Loews Hotels’ reputation and that of its chairman, Jonathan Tisch, one of the biggest advocates for the travel and tourism industry, is an added bonus for our entire destination.”

“We are excited to have Loews Hotels as our partner in every aspect of the KC Convention Hotel project,” said Mike Burke, principal at KC Hotel Developers LLC. “With their substantial equity investment and their management expertise, we have a complete alignment of interests in making sure the hotel is financed, built and operated successfully.

“Loews is known for expertly operating large group hotels with 4-star-plus quality that are tailored to the individual markets, for creating a great work environment for their employees and for being very involved in the communities where they operate. We have been impressed by the commitment of Loews’ senior management to Kansas City and to this partnership.”

Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel will showcase 800 guestrooms, a lobby bar, signature restaurant, three meal restaurant, indoor lap pool and 60,000 square feet of meeting and event space, which connects directly to the Kansas City Convention Center with a new connector bridge. The hotel is also in walking distance to key attractions and other destination landmarks like the Kansas City Power & Light District, Sprint Center, KC Streetcar and the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

“At Loews, we carefully and deliberately choose which markets to enter and we are extremely pleased to have the opportunity to add to our Midwest footprint with the new Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel,” said Jonathan M. Tisch, Chairman & CEO, Loews Hotels & Co. “Kansas City is a vibrant destination and we look forward to investing in and becoming an active part of the community.”

“Kansas City has serious momentum. In addition to a remarkable arts and culture renaissance, our city is also experiencing healthy gains in visitor traffic and hotel demand, proving the time is right for this project,” said Ronnie Burt, President & CEO, Visit KC. “This new hotel offering will enable us to continue raising the bar in Downtown Kansas City as we elevate the Kansas City convention and visitor experience. We’re privileged to have a partner of the caliber of Loews Hotels on board, as they are a proven leader in the meetings and conventions landscape.”

Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel is expected to create approximately 2,000 new jobs for Kansas City, including 1,400 construction jobs and more than 500 permanent jobs.

About Loews Hotels & Co. – Established 1960

Headquartered in New York City, Loews Hotels & Co hospitality company is rooted in a deep heritage in the hotel industry and excellence in service. The hospitality group encompasses branded independent Loews Hotels, and a solid mix of partner-brand hotels. Loews Hotels & Co. owns and/or operates 24 hotels and resorts across the U.S. and Canada, including Hotel 1000 in downtown Seattle and the Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando, the fifth hotel in partnership with Comcast NBC Universal. Located in major city centers and resort destinations from coast to coast, the Loews Hotels portfolio features properties grounded in family heritage and dedicated to delivering unscripted guest moments all with a handcrafted approach. For reservations or more information about Loews Hotels, call 1-800-23-LOEWS or visit: www.loewshotels.com.

About KC Hotel Developers LLC

KC Hotel Developers, LLC comprises a group of investors concerned about Kansas City’s convention-city status. KC Hotel Developers serves as the primary partner in the development of the new Kansas City Convention Center Hotel project.


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

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!

LaunchKC awards 10 grants to tech startups at Techweek

LaunchKC’s goal to bring the best tech entrepreneurs to Downtown Kansas City became fully realized on Friday afternoon, when its second class of 10 grant recipients was introduced before a packed house at Techweek Kansas City.

The 10 winners, which includes seven Kansas City area businesses and one international company were each awarded $50,000 in grants from LaunchKC.
Earlier in the day, 20 tech startups spent the morning pitching their business plans and making their case for the cash prizes to judges and Techweek attendees at Union Station.
More than 400 entrepreneurs from 19 states and seven countries applied to LaunchKC during a 90-day application window that closed in early July. LaunchKC is a startup grants program run by the Downtown Council of Kansas City in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.

The 2016 class of LaunchKC grant recipients are:

In addition to the $50,000 grants, the 10 selected startups will receive a year of free office space in the Crossroads Arts District of Downtown Kansas City; industry-specific mentor teams; and opportunities to meet and learn from industry and entrepreneurial leaders in Kansas City. In addition, LaunchKC will help the grant recipients identify follow-on capital and angel investments.

Techweek Friday: LaunchKC is ready for liftoff

LaunchKC, the startup competition designed to attract tech entrepreneurs to build their emerging tech businesses in Downtown Kansas City, will take center stage at Techweek Kansas City today (Friday).

The 20 finalists will make their pitches for $50,000 grants to LaunchKC judges and the Techweek audience in the Chamber Board at Union Station from 8 a.m. to noon. At the conclusion of the 20 presentations, the judges will break to review, score and determine which 10 startups will be announced as grant recipients at the awards ceremony. The LaunchKC awards ceremony will take place at 3 p.m. in the Extreme Screen at Union Station.

The finalists presenting today were selected from a pool of more than 400 businesses who applied to LaunchKC during the 90-day application window that closed in early July. More than 40 judges, experts in the startup community as well as the financial, legal and health industry sectors, volunteered their time over four weeks to thoughtfully review each application several times to narrow the field to the 20 presenting this morning.

The 2016 class of finalists, revealed on August 25th, features 12 startups from the Kansas City metropolitan area, seven from other U.S. states and one international applicant from Austria. They are competing for one of 10 $50,000 grants, a year of free office space in Downtown Kansas City, as well as professional mentoring support.

The 20 finalists for the LaunchKC grants competition include:

LaunchKC is an initiative of the Downtown Council (DTC) of Kansas City, Missouri, working in collaboration with the Economic Development Corporation (EDC).

City unveils plans to KC Streetcar grand opening

The City of Kansas City, Missouri and the Kansas City Streetcar Authority invite the public to celebrate the start of KC Streetcar operations while visiting Downtown Kansas City neighborhoods to witness the transformative effect the streetcar is having on our city.

The public celebration will begin at 10 a.m. Friday, May 6, outside of Union Station with a grand opening ceremony featuring Kansas City Mayor Sly James, Federal Transit Administration members, Kansas City Streetcar Authority Chairman Mike Hagedorn and other local dignitaries and elected officials.  The ceremony will be followed by an inaugural first ride for those dignitaries and the opening of public streetcar service and community-wide parties and activities.

Mayor James said the grand opening of the KC Streetcar is more than a celebration of a new transit option for Kansas Citians.

“This is the first step of what I believe will be a truly historic transformation of the entire city,” James said. “Building owners and developers have completed, started or announced more than $1.7 billion in construction in the downtown KC Streetcar district since the route was announced. I’m confident the entire city will find new momentum as the KC Streetcar energizes the heart of our community.”

The KC Streetcar grand opening ceremony kicks off a weekend-long celebration along the entire two-mile streetcar route. Many special streetcar-related events are planned in Downtown  KC, in conjunction with other festivities such as First Friday (and Saturday this time) in the Crossroads Arts District, a family-friendly festival with carnival rides at Union Station, fireworks both Friday and Saturday nights from Liberty Memorial, Smart City Village in the downtown business district, the Middle of the Map Fest  in the Crossroads and the Power & Light District, movie in the park in the City Market, and a busy spring weekend in the River Market.

The public is encouraged to enjoy and explore the many restaurants, boutique shops and other retail business along the streetcar route. There will also be a stationary streetcar parked at Union Station near Pershing Road for your chance to take a selfie with the streetcar.

For complete information about KC Streetcar grand opening activities, including transit options and parking, go to www.timetoridekc.org.

“An endeavor of this magnitude would not be possible without the involvement and support of so many partners”, said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority. “For a project to go from the drawing board to completion in this timeframe is record-setting and only possible with the strong and visionary leadership from the City of Kansas City, and tremendous support from the Federal Transit Administration, the KC Area Transportation Authority, Downtown businesses, our contract operator, Herzog Transit, and many others. This milestone represents years of effort by many and a new and exciting era for the region’s RideKC public transit partnership.”

The KC Streetcar grand opening celebration planning team was led by the Kansas City Streetcar Authority and O’Neill Marketing & Events Management, with assistance from many City of Kansas City departments, including Public Works, Kansas City Police Department, Kansas City Fire Department, and the City Manager’s Office. Gerend thanked their Downtown partners including the Downtown Council, the City Market, Union Station, Kansas City Power & Light District, Visit KC, KC Crossroads Community Association, and the River Market neighborhood association.

Celebration Information:

  • Watch the ceremony in front of Union Station. Then enjoy activities in all downtown neighborhoods along the route.
  • Please do not expect to ride the streetcar’s entire route continuously. Plan to exit at stops along the way to explore neighborhood activities.

Transportation & Parking:

  • FREE RideKC bus service is being offered on all local, express and shuttle service that connects to downtown. There will also be additional RideKC Max bus service on Main Street the weekend of May 6 & 7.
  • Main Street between 20th and Pershing Road will be closed to traffic. Union Station parking and Crown Center parking via Grand Blvd. will remain accessible. A full map of local parking locations is posted on www.timetoridekc.org
  • Main Street north of 20th will remain open to traffic, however, no street parking will be allowed on Main Street or on the south side of 5th Street between Main and Walnut on May 6 & 7.

Streetcar information:
The KC Streetcar will operate seven days a week, with service running from 6 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays; 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays; 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturdays; and 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays, and it is free to ride.

Among the events planned for the system’s inaugural weekend are:

  • First Friday (stretching into Saturday) in the Crossroads Arts District
  • A family-oriented festival at Union Station
  • Smart City Village in the Downtown business district
  • Middle of the Map Festival in the Kansas City Power & Light District and the Crossroads
  • Movie in the park in the City Market, along with other activities throughout the River Market area
  • Fireworks on Friday and Saturday at Liberty Memorial.

More complete information on grand opening activities, including transit options and parking, can be found online at www.timetoridekc.org. A preview video is online at http://kcstreetcar.org/about-streetcar/.

Streetcar grand opening set for May 6 & 7


Mark your calendars! On Friday and Saturday, May 6 & 7, Kansas City will throw a series of street parties along the KC Streetcar route as residents and visitors celebrate our dynamic Downtown in a family-friendly environment.

The Kansas City Streetcar Authority, along with Mayor Sly James and the City of Kansas City, Missouri, announced today that the first day of public streetcar ridership will be Friday, May 6.

Mayor James said the grand opening of the KC Streetcar is more than a celebration of the end of construction.  “This is the first step of what I believe will be a truly historic transformation of the entire city,” James said. “Building owners and developers have completed, started or announced more than $1.6 billion in construction in the KC Streetcar district since the route was announced three years ago.

“I’m confident the entire city will find new momentum as the KC Streetcar energizes the heart of our community.”

The grand opening marks the launch of the KC Streetcar system while highlighting all the wonderful things that make Downtown Kansas City a unique and fantastic place to live, work and play. The KC Streetcar runs through the heart of Downtown, connecting neighborhoods along the route: the River Market; the Central Business District; the Power & Light District, the Crossroads Arts District; and the Union Station and Crown Center area.

“For many Kansas Citians, this day is long in the making,” said Mike Hagedorn, chairman of the KC Streetcar Authority; president & CEO of UMB Bank; and past chairman of the Downtown Council. “This weekend in May will not only be a time to celebrate the KC Streetcar but to also celebrate the people, businesses, and landmarks that make Downtown so wonderful.”

Specific details will be announced soon, but mark your calendars for activities all-day Friday and Saturday, May 6 & 7.  As details develop, information will be posted online at www.kcstreetcar.orgwww.kcmo.gov and here at www.downtownkc.org.


2015 Urban Hero Honorees Announced

The Downtown Council is pleased to announce our 2015 Urban Hero Award honorees!

Please join us at the Urban Hero Reception on Wednesday, January 6, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Tom’s Town Distilling Co. Our Urban Heroes are passionate about making Downtown Kansas City a more vibrant place to live, work and play. Light hor d’oeuvres and beverages will be provided.

2015 Urban Hero Honorees:

Tickets are $20 each, you can purchase tickets at https://2016urbanhero.eventbrite.com. DTC Annual Luncheon sponsors may receive complimentary tickets as part of their sponsorship package.  Please contact Shannen Merrick to make your reservation smerrick@evenergy.com or 816-213-6910.

In addition, please don’t forget to join us at the Annual Luncheon on Friday, January 8th at 11:30 a.m. Reserve your sponsorship and or purchase tickets at www.downtownkc.org/annual-luncheon/registration/.