Plaza listed on endangered list - KCTV5

Plaza listed on endangered list

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A list of historic buildings in danger includes a surprising spot, that isn't just one individual building, but an entire area.

All but one of the 10 buildings on the list are just that, individual buildings. The other is the entire Country Club Plaza district. It's considered endangered by that group, because of the potential for development that could harm its historic charm.

People come to the plaza for different reasons, for shopping, dining and chilling out.

"To me it's just, it's about the best place there is," plaza patron Wanda Lantz said.

And part of the appeal is the look of the place.

"It's really Spanish colonial architecture, and JC Nichols did a pretty good job when he set it up, and it still holds true," Gary Lantz said.

Whether it will stay that way is the Historic Kansas City Foundation's concern.

It put the plaza on a list of places in danger, from a preservation perspective.

"The plaza is a unique resource," said Kansas City, MO, Historic Preservation Officer Brad Wolf.

Wolf isn't with the foundation, but as the official preservation person at city hall, he's keenly tuned in to the same issues.

"I think the Historic Kansas City Foundation was mostly looking at the development pressures," he said.

The Plaza is within a larger area of the city, whose development plan came up for reworking in January. The area in discussion goes from 31st to 55th Streets, and State Line Road to The Paseo.

"The idea is to plan for those future developments, and develop public policy," Wolf said.

But public policy has its limits. Sometimes public pressure is what makes the difference. Many may recall the successful protest over a 2010 rezoning request for law firm Polsinelli Shughart. More recently, a smaller change proposed at the Seasons 52 restaurant was nixed with no government involvement at all.

"They posted on Facebook, they contacted the company, they made their voices known. And the company, just opening up, wanted to make sure they had a good reputation," Wolf said.

Fortunately, the risk for the plaza is in the long-term. Many of the other sites on the list are at risk for demolition, because they've really gone downhill and are on the city's dangerous buildings list, which trumps any place on a historic register.

Some of those other spots, which would need major rehabilitation to be saved, include the modernist concrete house on Manheim Road, the Knickerbocker Apartments near 36th Street and Broadway and the Hawthorn Plaza Apartments.

The only way to save many of those, is for someone to use a lot of money for their rehabilitation.

Click here for a full list with details on each property.

The group puts out the list every year, hoping to spur interest. They also have a look-ahead list.

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