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Bike shop owner says new development will make West Bottoms area more special

Jay Luschen explains what led him to bring his business to the West Bottoms
Posted at 5:48 PM, May 20, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Weld Wheel Building was in Kansas City's West Bottoms was demolished on Sunday.

The demolition created room for a new, nearly $6 million project with apartments, offices and retail space.

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The project is being led SomeraRoad, a New York commercial real estate investment and development firm.

The Weld building sat vacant for years and business owners called it an eyesore.

"It was gonna have to be torn down, whether it was them or someone else," said Jay Luschen, owner of West Bottom Bicycles, also known online as World Class Bikes.

Luschen was drawn to the area seven years ago.

"We just like being in the old buildings," he said. "It’s more interesting. There’s more character to them."

Over the years, Luschen witnessed a surge in foot traffic and activity, extending beyond weekend events.

Jay Luschen, owner of West Bottom Bicycles

Despite the excitement, there are concerns about the development's impact.

"As we get more popular down here, rents go up, and now their business model is not as viable as it used to be," Luschen said.

There's also a balance between preserving the area's rich heritage and embracing progress.

"We’ve had a lot of meetings where they’ve kind of showed us what their plan is and they’ve stated that they don’t want to tear anything down, that they don’t have to tear down," Luschen said.

SomeraRoad's dedication to preserving the mix of retail, restaurants, and apartments reassures some residents and business owners.

For Luschen, he understands this change can be scary, but he knows it's a step in the right direction to preserving an area that's loved by many.

"I’ve been driving back and forth from Olathe for seven years and I’m still not tired of it," he said.

REMCO Demolition said it will be at least two months of clean up at the site before any construction can begin.