Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Discuss items in the urban core outside of Downtown as described above. Everything in the core including the east side (18th & Vine area), Plaza, Westport, Brookside, Valentine, Waldo, 39th street, & the entire midtown area.
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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by JBmidtown » Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:24 pm

missingkc wrote:The Plaza's not a strip mall.
it's an island of retail with only a little office space and no residential in the actual plaza itself. It's a glorified strip mall. I get that the surrounding neighborhood is some of the densest in KC and has some of the highest office occupancy rates but they're all anchored by a glorified strip mall. Designed by a racist.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by JBmidtown » Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:25 pm

beautyfromashes wrote:Strip malls just need a new name. 'Ranch' houses used to not be popular. They change the name to 'mid-century modern' and they are all the rage again. wal-la!
ranch houses still suck. strip malls still suck. the suburbs still suck. racists still suck.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by flyingember » Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:50 pm

JBmidtown wrote:
missingkc wrote:The Plaza's not a strip mall.
it's an island of retail with only a little office space and no residential in the actual plaza itself. It's a glorified strip mall. I get that the surrounding neighborhood is some of the densest in KC and has some of the highest office occupancy rates but they're all anchored by a glorified strip mall. Designed by a racist.
Odds are every downtown building built 1960 or before was designed, funded, built and/or managed by a racist.

Think of how many old homes in KC are the same,

The past is the past. If we look at the quality of the building only in terms of today's morals and say they're not worth keeping because of who built them we would need to rebuild about 10 square miles of KC
Last edited by flyingember on Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:51 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by beautyfromashes » Mon Oct 03, 2016 1:51 pm

^^ Someone's having a case of the Mondays!

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by aknowledgeableperson » Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:34 pm

Why not remove Washington and other leaders at the time from our books and tourist sites and heritage because they owned slaves?

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by missingkc » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:27 pm

it's an island of retail with only a little office space and no residential in the actual plaza itself. It's a glorified strip mall.
You render 'strip mall' meaningless.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by earthling » Mon Oct 03, 2016 3:56 pm

Damn, this thread got unnecessarily ugly fast.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by Midtownkid » Mon Oct 03, 2016 4:09 pm

The fancy name for strip mall is "lifestyle center"

Now, there is a difference between a strip mall and a place like the Plaza.

You could be really negative and say it is a glorified strip mall, but that would be over-simplification.

The Plaza's courtyards and overall pedestrian-friendly nature would separate it from a strip center...along with the fact that it is not just one strip, but rather a 'village' (multi-block). Also it contains buildings that are more complex than what is found in a strip center (office buildings, a theater, apartments etc.) You don't just park in front of every 'strip', walk in and walk out...its a place to stroll. Also there are hidden garages and that is one of the best features of the place.

A strip mall is typically a development that sits alone and does not enrich the surrounding area nor has any connection to it. The Plaza, as designed, serves as a 'town center' for the greater Country Club District. That's very interesting and smart. Think about the time period it which it was built, this was very revolutionary. What's even better is that all components of the neighborhood were designed and controlled aesthetically. Gas Stations were hidden. Parking was hidden. Everything was tied into the theme of the area. In creating this 'town center' Nichols accounted for the needs of his new housing developments and was able to control how they looked. No one built an ugly gas station along Brookside Boulevard or Ward Parkway...becuase they couldn't and didn't need to.

The architecture and planning really separates the Plaza from a typical strip center. Sure the towers mimic the architecture of Spain, but that doesn't lessen its value in my mind. Much of the architecture in America mimics something from somewhere else. These buildings were well crafted. They have great pedestrian scale. They are beautiful. They embody a lot of what we miss in today's architecture.

I love the Country Club District. I think it's great to go there and feel like you are in a different city. It feels more refined. You don't have to see ugly neon signs and blight at every major intersection. It's not just a coincidence...it was planned this way.


The ideology that tells us all America is bad because we did some bad things to bring it into existence is the same thinking that would tell us The Plaza and the Country Club District is bad because it was built on racism. This is bullshit.

Don't discount a place because it is connected to a dark part of our history. Furthermore, destroying it won't make the history go away.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by mean » Mon Oct 03, 2016 5:10 pm

flyingember wrote:The past is the past. If we look at the quality of the building only in terms of today's morals and say they're not worth keeping because of who built them we would need to rebuild about 10 square miles of KC
...and virtually all of historic Europe and the Middle East, Japan, China, and pretty much everywhere else in the world any human being built anything prior to the mid-20th Century. And probably most of the time since.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by FangKC » Mon Oct 03, 2016 9:33 pm

I agree with MidtownKid's characterization of the Plaza. What is being discounted here is that what was created is a very walkable environment with mixed uses that is very integrated into its' surrounding neighborhoods. The reason the Plaza is significant, and why so many architects and city planners study it, has to do with the level of detail in its' design; and the level of planning and quality. It's because it's more than a shopping center. Nichols sought to include art, landscaping, and numerous examples of eye-candy for the pedestrian. It's the details. It's cohesive, but not sterile. He paid attention to "layers," which is what a lot of modern developers fail to do.

He knew that parking would become important in modern merchandising, but he sought to minimize its' impact by planning to eventually hide most of the parking. However, the Plaza still does have a lot of street parking.

It's less important that he sought to mimic the architecture of old-Europe, but that he wanted to copy what made old European city planning so effective--and long-lasting. The details and texture of the environment. He couldn't recreate European cities in the American environment, but he took elements of them and applied it to development realities. He was patient, and knew it would take time to build this type of environment over the long-term, which is what happened. The Plaza has not been a flash-in-the-pan development. It struggled at first, but he kept to the original plan.

Even in the residential neighborhoods he developed, Nichols didn't just build cookie-cutter rows of houses that were thrown up quickly. He mixed architectural styles so that no two streets were alike, and that the housing wasn't monotonous. He knew his customers would seek variety, so he offered a lot of different housing types so everyone could find something they liked. The proof of his success is that very few of the exteriors of his houses have been modified over time--or modernized to appeal to fleeting tastes.

The thing that should be acknowledged is the long-term success of the Plaza. Many other retail centers have been built after the Plaza, and many of them are struggling, or have even been demolished. Nichols' residential neighborhoods are approaching 100 years old. They are still in good shape, and highly sought after. Few neighborhoods in Kansas City have been around that long and remained stable, and intact neighborhoods. He also taught the lesson about the importance of building maintenance, and keeping up the appearance of his properties--to maintain property values and rents.

It's not just the Plaza. many of Nichols' other retail nodes still are viable.

The racist practices are indeed a blot on his reputation, and they did have a long-term effect on the City. However, as was noted earlier, there were probably other builders who were as equally racist, who are responsible for much of the built environment of this country.

When it comes to that retail strip itself, the significance of it often has less to do with who the developer was, and instead more to do with who the architect was, or in many cases, things that happened inside the building that makes it historic.

The retail strip itself is not that significant for its' design or history. It's a pretty basic building. Should it be demolished for a larger-scale structure, it probably won't create a lot of opposition as long as there is a replacement structure that is denser, and better designed. If it's just demolished for a surface parking lot, then there is an argument to be made to save it simply because it provides retail space to the neighborhood.

Oddly, that retail strip is probably the most plain, non-descript building that Nichols ever constructed.

If Nichols were alive today, I would say that he would have continued to make the area around the Plaza denser--probably adding more apartment buildings, and even expanding elements of the Plaza environment to nearby neighborhoods like around Cleaver and Troost, and Paseo; south along Main; and even further north along Roanoke Parkway, Belleview, Madison, Main, and Broadway. I think he would have continued to make architecture the focus of his developments.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by JBmidtown » Mon Oct 03, 2016 11:04 pm

ok ok yeesh

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by OPIchabod » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:24 am

My quick two cents on Nichols and the Plaza and then we can go back to talking about how the Whole Foods mixed-use project at 51st and Oak would never have passed in West Plaza or Plaza/Westport Hill:

The ultimate piece of irony involving J.C. Nichols, his racial shortcomings and the Plaza is that, when the Kansas City metro as a whole decides it wants to take the next step as a community and have a conversation about race and it's impact in our lives, that conversation will originate, be debated, be litigated and be fought on the Plaza.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by chingon » Tue Oct 04, 2016 9:13 am

As a neighbor, I'd much rather see other vacant parcels in South Plaza filled in before the relatively pleasant and inauspicious "racist strip mall" with legitimate neighborhood ammenities (indy coffee shop, local pizza place, 2 small ethnic restaurants, dry cleaners) goes away.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by Midtownkid » Tue Oct 04, 2016 12:19 pm

chingon wrote:As a neighbor, I'd much rather see other vacant parcels in South Plaza filled in before the relatively pleasant and inauspicious "racist strip mall" with legitimate neighborhood ammenities (indy coffee shop, local pizza place, 2 small ethnic restaurants, dry cleaners) goes away.
yes

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by mean » Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:24 pm

TRIGGER WARNING - The following post contains a joke which some people may find offensive.

And pass up the opportunity to virtue signal? For shame!

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by JBmidtown » Tue Oct 04, 2016 5:31 pm

mean wrote:And pass up the opportunity to virtue signal? For shame!
:roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll: :roll:

god bless the mom and pops shops. may they forever bless our landscape with the ultimate virtue signal. Gimme a break.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by mean » Tue Oct 04, 2016 6:37 pm

I have no idea what that means, but I apologize if me teasing Dave and making fun of the subsequent off-topic mini-meltdown of this thread hurt your feelings in any way. I have edited my previous post to reflect my genuine and sincere remorse and to warn other potential victims of my microaggression.

:P

Lighten up, bruh.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by Highlander » Wed Oct 05, 2016 9:27 pm

mean wrote:TRIGGER WARNING - The following post contains a joke which some people may find offensive.

And pass up the opportunity to virtue signal? For shame!
We've crossed a new frontier when the legal disclaimer is twice as long as the actual joke.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by mean » Sun Oct 16, 2016 7:58 pm

I posted that while perhaps a bit more than slightly drunk and may not have been using my best judgment. Which isn't to try and retract it, but there was no need to be such an over-the-top dick, so I apologize.

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Re: Whole Foods mixed-use project @ 51/Oak

Post by grovester » Sun Oct 16, 2016 9:14 pm

double props for going back 2 weeks after the fact!

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