Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunders?

Discuss items in the urban core outside of Downtown as described above. Everything in the core including the east side (18th & Vine area), Northeast, Plaza, Westport, Brookside, Valentine, Waldo, 39th street, & the entire midtown area.
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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by heatherkay »

I'm sure the people in the neighborhoods surrounding Warner Plaza were pretty happy to get these big box stores instead. It's all very well to preserve buildings, but I don't think it should be at the expense of people, and it's pretty patronizing to tell people living with that kind of situation that they need to just sit tight until a rising tide lifts all boats. I don't think that the Midtown Marketplace was implemented as well as it should have been, and it's so frustrating that there isn't a street entrance to the shops on the corner of Main and Linwood. But the perfect is the enemy of the good, and sometimes you have to settle for "good enough for now."

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by flyingember »

exactly. kind of like Aldi's isn't the best grocery store but I'd take them for a neighborhood over a run down building and no grocery store.

at least this design is something that no one will care about tearing out and replacing someday. if you can't get optimal this is a good positioin to be in.

worse is to spend the time and effort and get something just slightly too good to remove

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by Demosthenes »

heatherkay wrote:I'm sure the people in the neighborhoods surrounding Warner Plaza were pretty happy to get these big box stores instead. It's all very well to preserve buildings, but I don't think it should be at the expense of people, and it's pretty patronizing to tell people living with that kind of situation that they need to just sit tight until a rising tide lifts all boats. I don't think that the Midtown Marketplace was implemented as well as it should have been, and it's so frustrating that there isn't a street entrance to the shops on the corner of Main and Linwood. But the perfect is the enemy of the good, and sometimes you have to settle for "good enough for now."
You're right, whenever a few bad apples move into a neighborhood we should level all of it. That is clearly the best way to deal with this situation. It's the only way a hardware store could move into the neighborhood.

It's too bad we haven't torn down all of Westport since there's been all those murders late at night. A gigantic Walmart would probably do well. I bet the murder rate goes down.

It's also too bad we didn't tear down all those big slummy apartment buildings on Armour when they were all section 8. Shit there's still a lot of trouble coming out of the Bainbridge. It makes Armour suspect. We should probably tear down everything within a 1000 foot radius. Then lets put in a safe strip mall. Brilliant!

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by aknowledgeableperson »

Doesn't sound like a bad idea. Extreme Urban Renewal.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by heatherkay »

I think the problem was significantly worse than a few bad apples. At the time they did this, it was the best available solution to the problem. It wasn't the best solution, full stop, but it was the best one they could get money for at the time. It's like an amputation. It's never the first solution, or the optimal solution. But sometimes uiu have to do it to save the healthy tissue. And an injury today is fixable, whereas the same injury 50 years would not have been. Hindsight criticism is always easier than dealing with the problem in front of you.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by aknowledgeableperson »

"But sometimes uiu have to do it to save the healthy tissue. And an injury today is fixable, whereas the same injury 50 years would not have been."

Good point. Financially there are more tools available now to fix-up/rehab then what was available 25 or more years ago.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by missingkc »

I also believe there was a prevailing opinion in KC 25 years ago that the way to reinvigorate KC was to suburbanize it. It people wanted suburban style development, give it to them. You can see it in the now older infill projects on the east side - single family homes on rather large lots. Totally non-urban in feel.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by chaglang »

Demosthenes wrote:Let it be known that I am not suggesting we should have tried preserving the grit and sleaze of Warner Plaza. I am merely saying we should have tried preserving the buildings. But yes, I would prefer a gritty urban district over a suburban big-box development. That is what I'm saying. The gritty urban district can always improve as the city does. It just takes people with money renovating and moving in.

I mean, lets get real. It sounds like some of you would be okay with tearing down parts of Troost and replacing it with a big box development. Do you think a giant suburban grocery store and Ikea (or something of that nature) being plopped down at 33rd and Troost would be okay? That is essentially what happened at Warner Plaza.

The truth of the matter is that even though 33rd and Troost is slummy, it still holds great potential in the bits of urbanity that remain. Going suburban would set everything way back though, even if it provided the neighborhood with a short-term gain.
Yes, let's get real. You're reaching a bit here. If you look elsewhere on this board you would see that there are several of us are actively fighting box stores from coming on to Troost. Those attempts at preservation and guiding appropriate urban development happening now. If you're interested in helping with a current Midtown issue, let me know.

Everyone agrees with you that the form of Midtown Marketplace sucks and is alien to the area. What you aren't recognizing is that the businesses there do a good job of serving needs the area, provide a ton of jobs, provide funds for a gigantic home repair program, and that there is almost no crime associated with them. I loooove bashing suburban land use. But even I have to recognize that this development does way more good than harm, and as inefficient as the land use is it undeniably serves the neighborhood better than Warner Plaza could have. On the other hand, asking residents to sit tight in their slum so their buildings can be preserved until Kansas City becomes a great city in 50 years doesn't do anything for the area.

Were you in Midtown in the 80's? Do you remember what it was like then? It was a very, very different place. It's all fine and good to bash people for not envisioning in 1989 what the area would like like in 2014, but this version of midtown scarcely seemed possible even 10 years ago. Midtown had been in a long decline for decades. In 1989 there was no New Urbanism yet. That wouldn't happen for 2 more years. Missouri wouldn't offer a historic tax credit program from 9 more years. MAC wouldn't show up to renovate Armour for 18 more years. We couldn't even agree on whether Union Station should be saved. In short, you're asking the city to have had a vision for the area that had little or no precedent. If a planner had suggested preserving some of the WP buildings and working the development into the existing street grid, the likely response would have been "What the bleep for?"

As a thought exercise, try guessing at what this area will look like in 2039.

If you are genuinely interested in preserving current buildings in the area, here are rows of buildings very similar to Warner Plaza that are rotting right this very moment. Those buildings can still be transformed into whatever gritty bits of urbanity you're after, because they're still standing. But they may not be for much longer. Why not focus all this preservationist energy on them?

I would absolutely take a suburban IKEA in Troost. Are you kidding? In a heartbeat.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by mykn »

That was probably the most reasoned thing I've read on the internet all year. Nice job!

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by flyingember »

chaglang wrote: I would absolutely take a suburban IKEA in Troost. Are you kidding? In a heartbeat.
absolutely

St. Louis is getting one in a similar area (more accurate would be if such a store was on Gillham in KC terms, but close enough for the example) they'll hire 300 people, which would be wonderful for midtown KC.

another chain that should be welcomed with open arms if they want to build in urban KC is Hy-Vee. they build quality stores and hire a ton of workers. they're well known for entering markets by building at existing retail centers, replacing or renovating the buildings of failed strips, as much as anchoring new centers. their NW 64th St KC store was a center redesign

there's some businesses so valuable to an area that a big box design is better than nothing. major grocery stores are one of the few I'd put on that list. if someone were to take a block between 31st and Linwood somewhere between Troost and Prospect and build a full service grocery store it would be like a bomb dropped, the commercial market would reverse overnight.

Does anyone think that midtown would have done well without Mill Creek Plaza or downtown would be doing well without Consentino's? Basic services are anchors for an area. We know the strip malls and traditional malls that keep their benchmark stores do way better than the ones that don't, even in the suburbs.

And Costco and Home Depot for all their failings are benchmark stores.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by heatherkay »

Going to throw this into the mix as well.
Wholesale retailer Costco pays its employees an average of nearly $21 per hour, about 65% higher than its largest rival, Wal-Mart.
http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/talking- ... 07283.html

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by smh »

heatherkay wrote:Going to throw this into the mix as well.
Wholesale retailer Costco pays its employees an average of nearly $21 per hour, about 65% higher than its largest rival, Wal-Mart.
http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/talking- ... 07283.html
Oh I think we can all agree we are happy to not have Wal-Mart occupying that site.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by mykn »

Literally the first thing I did after buying my condo downtown was to go to Home Depot in Midtown. I would guess I've probably been there (and ACE Hardware in Westport!) 100 times after while renovating parts of my condo as well. It's a big box store, but it sure beats having to drive 20 miles out of town to go pick up some storage shelves or paint.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by Eon Blue »

Good retail numbers at places like Costco and Home Depot are also something that will draw more retailers into the core. And importantly, we have measure in place to ensure that what comes next is more urban in form--in this regard you could consider Midtown Marketplace a loss leader for urbanism.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by loftguy »

Eon Blue wrote:Midtown Marketplace a loss leader for urbanism.

Great summation.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by auntbigdog »

Eon Blue wrote:in this regard you could consider Midtown Marketplace a loss leader for urbanism
I like that.

This is just an anecdote from a relative newcomer, but when my husband and I started to look for a house in KC two years ago, things like the Costco and the 39th/State Line development were signals of investment in Midtown. (We were overseas at the time, so we had to find clues where we could.) I do love and respect old buildings, which is why we ended up with a century-old home, and I do agree that the Costco/Home Depot complex is ugly. But I can't be the only one who used those developments as inputs to the final decision to live where we do. To us--and I hope to others--it looked like Midtown was headed in the right direction. Besides, if a trip to Costco is inevitable, which in our case it is, I'd much rather hand over the sales tax to my own state instead of Kansas.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by voltopt »

mykn wrote:Literally the first thing I did after buying my condo downtown was to go to Home Depot in Midtown. I would guess I've probably been there (and ACE Hardware in Westport!) 100 times after while renovating parts of my condo as well. It's a big box store, but it sure beats having to drive 20 miles out of town to go pick up some storage shelves or paint.
I don't think the additive value of having a square mile dedicated to two big box retailers and a sea of parking is worth cutting 3 miles out of a downtowner's trip to buy paint. The Home Depot in Gladstone is 6.6 miles from the north loop, all via highway - the Linwood Home Depot is 3.1 miles from the same spot and is the same amount of travel time, considering the lack of direct highway access.

I understand that a retailer such as this is good for urban dwellers, but the location is terrible. I'd rather see big box retail along southwest boulevard or at the Landing at 63rd, not in the heart of midtown and at a crucial transition point between downtown and midtown.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by bobbyhawks »

I still go to Strasser when I can, but Home Depot and Costco definitely played into my comfort level with regard to being downtown. The prospect of the Cosentinos was probably the biggest single retail factor. The entire point of being downtown is that I don't have to drive very far or at all. This is one of the things that aggravates me about my friends that live further out in the burbs. They chose to be in a location where it is assumed they will have to drive some distance to go anywhere. I chose a location where a reasonable cab ride or bus ride will get me pretty much anywhere. So, when my friends get mad at me for not driving 10 miles to consume adult beverages, I don't really feel like that bad of a friend for opting out. If I lived downtown and was constantly making 10+ minute drives to get basic things for my house, it would kinda defeat the purpose of living downtown. I get that the development is ugly and intrusive, but that part of midtown is not even close to being the heart of midtown for me.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by heatherkay »

Well, you can take the MAX from downtown to Home Depot, and there isn't anything like that to north of the River.

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Re: Is Midtown Marketplace one of the city's greatest blunde

Post by aknowledgeableperson »

"I don't think the additive value of having a square mile dedicated to two big box retailers and a sea of parking is worth cutting 3 miles out of a downtowner's trip to buy paint. The Home Depot in Gladstone is 6.6 miles from the north loop, all via highway - the Linwood Home Depot is 3.1 miles from the same spot and is the same amount of travel time, considering the lack of direct highway access."

You just happened to pick a spot that seems to work for your argument. Why not pick a spot, say this Home Depot, and put a 6.6 mile radius around it. How many people live inside that area? I would imagine that a majority of them appreciate having this retail choice along with Costco. And there is way more to it than a single trip to buy paint.

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