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Arts, Entertainment and History Thrive in Downtown, Kansas City

Kansas City’s downtown is booming with a beat all its own as revitalization makes old become new again and investment is turning the area into a showpiece worthy of international envy. Downtown proper is home to the soon-to-open Kansas City Live!, a seven-square-block entertainment, office, retail and residential district that promises to bring some major excitement to the area. The multi-million district will house the new world headquarters for H&R Block, and will link downtown’s core office buildings, hotels, convention center, residential areas and attractions.

The first phase of the project is expected to open in 2006 with 425,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space at an estimated $330 million price tag. The $835 million second phase will contain 1 million square feet of office space plus 1,000 residential units. Kansas City Live! is expected to transform downtown into the city’s hotspot, attracting full-time residents, some hard-hitting employers and sightseers as well. With open storefronts, brick-paved sidewalks and a permanent performance stage for live entertainment, the area will be a mecca for workers, shoppers and diners during the day and the city’s entertainment haven at night.

As Kansas City Live! puts a new face on downtown, the city’s loft districts are ensuring history isn’t forgotten.
By transforming old, vacant buildings into showplaces for the arts, the Crossroads District’s artists are carving a niche for themselves as they create a new destination for visitors. Complete with galleries, residential lofts, retail shopping and a host of cafes, Crossroads is a favorite among tourists and residents.

In the Rivermarket district, the city’s past is waiting to be explored as residential and retail areas bustle with activity. With historic landmarks, museums and the famous City Market, the Rivermarket area is as alive today as it was in the 1800s when passers-through made their way West from Kansas City.

Crossroads District – Artists’ paradise

An urban mixed-use community located in the heart of downtown Kansas City, the Crossroads District is famous for its loft living, culture, entertainment and galleries. The district is an older area of the city where formerly vacant buildings have been renovated for use as galleries, restaurants, shops and lofts. Watched over by the Crossroads Community Association, the district is making a name for itself throughout the city, bringing life into an area formerly devoid of it.

Welcoming visitors to view the transformation, the community holds a monthly event called First Fridays, which are fast becoming a district trademark. Taking place on the first Friday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m. First Fridays are a gallery hop of sorts where patrons of the arts are free to tour galleries at a leisurely pace and jump aboard free trolleys to arrive at their next destination.

Rivermarket - Where It All Started.

Kansas City’s Rivermarket area has been booming since the early days when pioneers from around the world made their way to America’s “jumping off point” to the West. Today is no different as visitors and residents revel in the history, culture, entertainment and fun that can be found in this area along the Missouri River. Complete with its own residential and commercial areas, Rivermarket is home to many of the city’s major attractions, including City Market.

An outdoor marketplace located just off the Missouri’s riverbanks is known for its colorful history and streets once roamed by the likes of Wild Bill Hickock, Jesse James and Doc Holiday. The pavement is now pounded by those wanting to explore Kansas City’s Wild West past and its artistic future. A true blend of what was and what is now today, City Market is home to the Arabia Steamboat Museum, a number of historic landmarks and world-class shopping and dining. City Market’s vendors provide shoppers with a taste of the world right in the heart of Kansas City. With fresh produce, meats, seafood, specialty food items, flowers and gifts from around the globe, shoppers can delight seven days a week.

One of the biggest draws for City Market is the area’s largest Farmers’ Market, each weekend mid-March through November. Boasting more than 140 different vendors on any given weekend, the Farmers’ Market offers fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, flowers, plants and crafts made by local artists. As if the sights, shopping and dining weren’t enough, City Market also offers Kansas City’s third largest outdoor concert venue, which can accommodate about 12,000 people.

With a downtown alive with development and shopping and loft districts booming with activity, historic downtown has something to offer for everyone.

by Tiffany Lewis, Kansas City Premier Apartments, Inc.

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