City leaders, residents talk need for housing, restaurants in South KC

Posted at 5:48 PM, Oct 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-09 11:37:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- City leaders and residents gathered at Avila University Saturday to discuss growth and related needs at the South Kansas City Alliance Economic Development Summit.

A survey was given to St. Joseph Hospital, Burns and Mac and Cerner employees about what housing and retail needs there are in south Kansas City.

“The majority of them want single-family housing $250,000 or more,” explained Vickie Wolgast, President of the South Kansas City Chamber of Commerce. “Right now we are a little light on that.”

Council member Scott Taylor sees that as an opportunity for developers to invest in south Kansas City.  He said many people also like the idea of a townhome or a house where services like trash and lawn care are provided.

“There are a lot of people willing to pay a little more but they also don’t want to deal with maintenance,” said Taylor.

Taylor also said south Kansas City leads the way in job creation for the city, saying in the past few years 6,000 new jobs were developed and the new Cerner campus is bringing or relocating 16,000 jobs.

“We want to capture those jobs and have them start their families in south Kansas City,” explained Taylor.

Tayor said many of those families are looking for healthy grocery stores and sit down restaurants, something that can be seen in the Ward Parkway Shopping Center.

The Red Bridge Shopping Center also recently announced new tenants Crows Coffee and Blue Moose Bar & Grill.

“We have been seeing a lot of momentum,” Explained Wolgast.

Bob Pandolfi sees a different story a couple miles west of the new Cerner campus at the old Bannister Mall.  He owns a warehouse at Bannister and Troost across from the federal complex.

“It seems to be abandoned. Interested in what's happening over there,” said Bob Pandolfi.

Eventually, that will be torn down, making three million square feet available.

Pandolfi said he sees the opportunity for development.

“It might be a good location for an athletic facility for physical fitness,” said Pandolfi.

Wolgast said tearing down the federal complex will likely be a five-year project.