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The central area of Kansas City
contains remarkable resources.

"Why Downtown"
. . . . . . .

Superior Access

Parking Supply

Existing cultural facilities

Investment in conventions and meeting facilities

Regional identity, visibility,
historic role

Potential for success of theperforming arts center

Public investment in downtown hotel space

Growing downtown housing

Community preservation objectives

Bolsters current and planned investments

. . . . . . .

However, downtown has evolved primarily into a center of employment and government. As with many American cities, the roles of retail, entertainment and visitor center face strong competition from outside the central city. Downtown Kansas City suffers from the doldrums facing many core cities: the streets close down, when the workday is done.

Recent development strategies hope to change that. Tactics include strengthening the Loop, as the core business area is known, as the regional focus for retailing, entertainment, culture, tourism and urban living. Nearly a dozen revitalization projects were under way or being planned at the time of the study.

The rationale for locating art and culture in downtown Kansas City consists of three parts:

First, a downtown location can serve the entire region better than other locations because of its superior highway access (all major routes pass through or converge downtown), and its public transportation hub. Second, downtown best serves objectives to create regional visibility, attract the broadest and most diverse audience, ensure financial viability of cultural investments, reinforce rather than undermine existing cultural and entertainment venues, and provide a community icon. Third, downtown presents the strongest possibility to use culture to strengthen current and planned revitalization projects.


Best serves the entire region

Fosters success in achieving goals of cultural institutions

Strengthens existing infrastructure and reinforces planned improvements

Although several factors bolster these three conclusions,
10 "top considerations" surfaced as the strongest arguments in support:

  1. The saying "All roads lead to the Loop" best summarizes downtown's prime location and superior access.

  2. Existing parking supply is plentiful, and presents cost sharing arrangements between daytime and nighttime uses.

  3. Existing cultural facilities would be enhanced by a major cultural district nearby.

  4. Cultural and entertainment venues would maximize Kansas City's recent investment in convention and meeting facilities.

  5. Concentrating cultural resources downtown represents a return to the historic role as a multi-cultural, multifaceted draw.

  6. Potential for success of the Performing Arts Center is enhanced by creating a regional icon that benefits from the spin-off of nearby investments.

  7. Recent investments in downtown's hotel room base would be enhanced by diverse cultural amenities in the immediate area.

  8. Support of downtown housing contributes to a strong mixed-use environment enhanced by a performing arts center.

  9. Augmenting historic structures with related uses is a cost-effective way to support community preservation objectives.

  10. Planned public/private investments downtown will produce more benefits if downtown has re-established itself as an important center for arts, culture and entertainment.

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. . . . ©1998 Ciruli Associates.
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