They need to quit focusing so much on retail and office and build more apartments and townhouses, and try and populate the retail to fill the needs of future on-site residents and those within a few miles, not the region. That site is no longer a regional attraction. There is too much competing big-box retail in the overall area and region already. Have the existing Macy's be the primary anchor, a grocery store, and other service-type retail
The big part of the real estate market that is still not being realized in these redevelopments are the quickly-aging senior and baby boomer generation. This is a huge demographic that will need living environments where they can "age-in-place" and have their needs met. This includes that time when they will probably no longer drive their own cars. There is also a great need for neighborhoods that allow seniors to adjust to their changing situation and stay put: apartments, in-home services, assisted living, and nursing home care. A neighborhood designed for them where they can walk, get exercise, and socialize. One, where as their friends change living situations, they can still see them regularly.
I would imagine that there are many potential tenants living nearby already that are aging in older homes who are becoming less interested in maintaining them and a yard. They want to stay near family and friends, and a familiar environment. Family members want them to remain independent, but also would feel better if they living around other people who could help them and not worry about them being isolated.
The best use I can think of for this site would be something similar to core area of Zona Rosa, but with less big retail stores. The problem with the Zona Rosa design is that it is very difficult to add a lot of multi-tenant units because it's boxed in by highways and arterial streets, and an existing residential neighborhood. It's not setup well to add lots of additional housing units for this population, and have them be able to negotiate around it on foot from their apartments. Only the core area is pedestrian friendly.
In the next 20 years, the senior population in Kansas City will double. Within that group, one of the fastest growing is those living to be 85-years, or older.
http://marc.org/Community/KC-Communitie ... r-web.aspx
A parcel as big at the former Metro North Mall, if redesigned properly, could meet all these needs, and also remain a retail and service hub for existing neighborhoods.