P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Come here for discussion about the new downtown entertainment district.
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FangKC
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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby FangKC » Fri Nov 26, 2010 8:26 pm

trailerkid wrote:How do you create that sort of thing when when the blocks facing 14th Street aren't flat? You do see actual sidewalk cafe seating at Fran's, Raglan, Famous Dave's, and some others; but very few of the blocks are flat enough.


There isn't enough outdoor seating to create the restaurant row "festival marketplace" atmosphere that could have made the District better.

The grades in front of the single restaurants aren't that dramatic. It wouldn't have been a big deal.  The tables can have a minor tilt. There are sidewalk restaurants on the Upper East Side of Manhattan that exist on a minor grade and they don't have a problem.  In some cases, you can create a small level pad in front of the retaurant with a step up.  But that requires much wider sidewalks.

The other thing they could have done is taken some of the fill dirt from digging the garages and flattened the street out a bit.  There is sort of a valley between Main and Grand with Walnut being the low point. The fill dirt could have raised the street up to a level place, and the fronts of the buildings could have been adjusted accordingly.

The other thing that could have been done is to close off 14th between Main and Grand, and Walnut between Truman and 13th Street. Those blocks could have become entirely pedestrian, since there are no garage entrances on them. You could also have gotten by with one-way, one lane streets instead of two-way, two-lane streets.  Just enough to allow delivery trucks to access the businesses.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby FangKC » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:30 pm

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby FangKC » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:33 pm

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby FangKC » Fri Nov 26, 2010 9:54 pm

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby FangKC » Sat Nov 27, 2010 12:21 am

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby FangKC » Sat Nov 27, 2010 1:43 am

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby ColumbusParkian » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:50 am

seriously dude, do we need 500 pictures of different sidewalk cafes?

Plus, I think it's a bit ridiculous to complain that a 2 block stretch of an entirely manufactured development built just a couple of years ago aren't comparable to Las Ramblas in Barcelona.  Yeah those are pretty pictures, but I'm just not going to take your disappointment seriously if your expectations are THAT unrealistic.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby FangKC » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:31 pm

I don't think having high expectations is unrealistic.  Even if it's a two-block stretch, this city has to start somewhere in creating a more remarkable downtown and city in general-and then begin expanding it outward.

Companies are leaving downtown, or looking to go elsewhere. The fact that AMC is considering leaving is a testatment to that. They have been downtown for years.  Cerner is moving their staff over to Kansas. Stan Durwood came up with the original idea to create an entertainment district--which later became the Power & Light District.  Now the very company that initiated that idea is thinking of leaving.

Kansas City, Missouri, is having a hard time competing with the State of Kansas poaching, and competition from generic suburban developments like Legends and Town Center.  The only real weapon the City has is to begin creating special places around our cultural attractions (Sprint Center, Bartle Hall, Municipal Auditorium, PAC, Midland Theater, Copaken Stage, Folly Theater) that don't exist elsewhere.

This despite the fact that three major freeways converge on the downtown loop, and it's convenient to workers in all directions that live in all parts of the Metro.  The infastructure is already there for a central business district. Mass transit converges there.  The synergy of banking, government, and cultural amenities should exist there.

Kansas City, Missouri, cannot afford to make mistakes, and to produce generic manufactured environments that don't end up attracting enough business to not require millions in public subsidies.

We needed the Power & Light District to rebuild downtown. However, the existing environment could have been better. Not to acknowledge that is foolish. There is ample evidence that exists in creating better places. Instead, we got a two-block stretch of one- and two-story buildings with no residential component built. Just a hope for the future.

It is only my opinion, but I think the Power & Light District could have been better conceived. I posted all those photos to show how other cities have done it in the past.  Downtown needs density and more residential to make Power & light ultimately successful without tourists and event-goers.

The restaurants and clubs along 14th Street should have been 4- to 6-story buildings with wider sidewalks for more plentiful outdoor street dining and uninhibited strolling.  The blocks should have been better planned so as not to create hostile street walls.

The retail buildings west of Main and south of 13th Street should also have been more than one- or two-story buildings, and they should have had residential above the stores.  Lost opportunity to build density and population.

Across the street to the south of Cosentinos, you have no storefronts or inviting entrances and windows. Just a wall. The Copaken Stage building has no formal entrance to the street. Just one off a courtyard, and it's not apparent how to enter the building.

The building housing the College Basketball Experience is just another example of a bland building with a hostile street interaction. The north side of the building on 13th Street creates another dead block.

The H&R Block building is pretty, but it should have had incorporated storefronts facing the street, and not create just another corporate lobby that doesn't add to the overall character and purpose of a downtown.  Large corporate lobbies in newer buildings have crowded out all the old street spaces that used to house retail and restaurants. They interrupt continuous retail storefronts that draw people from block-to-block.

It was also a mistake not to have built the new apartment buildings that were planned south of 14th Street facing Truman, and behind the Mainstreet Theater when the entire project was being built.  The City also should have built an undergound garage under the new buildings south of 14th Street between Main and Grand to serve those apartment buildings. I predict that someday we will regret that decision.

The Downtown Loop has one of the lowest residential vacancy rates in the City. When the P&L District was being conceived, residential buildings were at about 95 percent occupancy.  The City needs a lot more downtown housing to build a stable worker population to retain and attract companies.

Not taking every opportunity to add apartments downtown was a mistake. Creating nine blocks of new structures without a residential component was a mistake.

Cosentinos should also have had an apartment building on top of it.

Newer housing would have attracted a different demographic that those who move into renovated older office buildings.  You can plan layouts better, and create modern spaces that have room for closets, bigger kitchens, more light, attractive views, and no exposed ductwork.  While older buildings converted for residential have their place, they often have limitations.

I lived in New York City for 10 years, and I will tell you that people will pay for good views.  Apartments with views are the most sought-after. In a city like Kansas City, they are a rarity.

For a City like Kansas City to be successful--without a coastline or mountains, and warm weather, it has to create special places that attract people.  It should look to Europe for examples of how to create a great city. They have been doing it for centuries.
Last edited by FangKC on Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby ColumbusParkian » Sat Nov 27, 2010 2:46 pm

Yeah Europe HAS been building great cities for centuries. CENTURIES. I agree about missing an opportunity for increasing population density, but to rant that we didn't make it look like some of the best cities in the world just isn't realistic. One homogenous development is NEVER going to equate centuries of organic growth, regardless of how fantastic the city planning is.

What's next? complaining that Cordish didn't build canals a la Venice? Or why Cordish isn't hosting their own Mardi Gras parades? I also noticed that Cordish hasn't put in anything even close to Rockefeller Center or Times Square! People FLOCK to those places! Don't they know anything about how to build a great city???

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby loftguy » Sat Nov 27, 2010 4:42 pm

trailerkid wrote:How do you create that sort of thing when when the blocks facing 14th Street aren't flat? You do see actual sidewalk cafe seating at Fran's, Raglan, Famous Dave's, and some others; but very few of the blocks are flat enough.


For an example of a simple local solution, please take a look at Los Tules, in the 1600 block of Broadway.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby mRoyal » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:54 pm

FangKC wrote:Cerner is moving their staff over to Kansas.


Quick little bit, mainly irrelevant to the argument.  Cerner isn't moving staff; very few if they (we) do.  It's supposed to be new hires. 

That can change, but at this moment no one will move.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby grovester » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:15 am

thanks for the tip, it does make a difference.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby aknowledgeableperson » Sun Nov 28, 2010 10:02 am

FangKC wrote:Companies are leaving downtown, or looking to go elsewhere. The fact that AMC is considering leaving is a testatment to that. They have been downtown for years. ... Stan Durwood came up with the original idea to create an entertainment district--which later became the Power & Light District.  Now the very company that initiated that idea is thinking of leaving.
...
It is only my opinion, but I think the Power & Light District could have been better conceived.



I am glad you had that post.  If I would have said it I would have been waterboarded, drawn and quartered.  I agree with just about everything in the post.

With regards to AMC.  Yes, the company could end up in KS but remember, first the company considered the idea of moving to the Plaza and when that deal fell through KS came into play (KS did not make a coldcall and invite AMC over).  But people have not asked the the most important questions. Why was AMC entertaining the idea of moving from downtown in the first place?  After all of the investment by the city into downtown recently why not move into another building downtown if you are unhappy with the current building?

With regards to the P&L we have to face it.  The way it was financed dictated the way it was built.  Sq Ft that brings in high tax dollars had to be built first, balanced with the need low cost.  Meaning food, beverage, retail.  Even with those constraints the first phase could have been designed better to make it more "unique" instead of the cookie-cutter approach.   
I may be right.  I may be wrong.  But there is a lot of gray area in-between.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby Midtownkid » Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:17 pm

Hammerpress sort of did something like this with their "I Love You" salon.  But then again, it is more of a salon, not a barber shop (has the look of a barber shop).  They should branch out and build a whole men's barber shop close to their store.  They def have the exact right aesthetic for it!
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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby slimwhitman » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:28 pm

FangKC wrote:I don't think having high expectations is unrealistic.  Even if it's a two-block stretch, this city has to start somewhere in creating a more remarkable downtown and city in general-and then begin expanding it outward.  .....    For a City like Kansas City to be successful--without a coastline or mountains, and warm weather, it has to create special places that attract people.  It should look to Europe for examples of how to create a great city. They have been doing it for centuries.


Nice post, FangKC.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby mykem » Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:26 pm

slimwhitman wrote:Nice post, FangKC.
Yep, KC ought to look at places like London, Paris, or even Orleans France.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby FangKC » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:13 pm

The thing to remember is that at one time, Paris didn't look like present-day Paris.  It took work and planning, and an eye for beauty and place-making.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby LenexatoKCMO » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:23 pm

FangKC wrote:It took work and planning, and an eye for beauty and place-making.


And a dictator to slam through demolition of 2/3 of the city, authoritarian planning, and forced relocation for most of its population. 

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby nilsson1941 » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:03 pm

LenexatoKCMO wrote:And a dictator to slam through demolition of 2/3 of the city, authoritarian planning, and forced relocation for most of its population. 

Thats what they did in Portland.

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Re: P&L District: 12th & Main Site Proposal

Postby FangKC » Thu Dec 16, 2010 9:40 pm

LenexatoKCMO wrote:And a dictator to slam through demolition of 2/3 of the city, authoritarian planning, and forced relocation for most of its population. 


Yeah, that's happening now in China.


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