Kansas City Power & Light District
|Location||1100 Walnut Street
Kansas City, Missouri 64106
|Type||Mixed-use retail, entertainment, office, and residential development|
|Built||2005 - 2008|
|Opened||First tenant opened November 9, 2007; various openings through 2008 and 2009|
|Capacity||nine city block area|
The Kansas City Power & Light District or Power & Light District is a shopping and entertainment district in Downtown Kansas City, Missouri, United States, developed by the Cordish Company of Baltimore, Maryland and designed by Beyer Blinder Belle and 360 Architecture. The district comprises nine blocks on the south side of the downtown loop. It is located between Baltimore Avenue to the west, Grand Boulevard to the east, 12th Street to the north, and Interstate 670 to the south. The $850 million "mixed-use" district is one of the largest development projects in the Midwestern United States The Power & Light District is one of only a few places in the United States where possession and consumption of open containers of alcoholic beverages are allowed on the street, although they remain prohibited on the street throughout the rest of Kansas City.
The Power & Light District is immediately to the west of the Sprint Center. It originally was to be named Kansas City Live!, but the Cordish Company decided instead to name the district after the art deco Kansas City Power and Light Building. The present headquarters of the Kansas City Power & Light Company (a subsidiary of Great Plains Energy) is also located on the northern side of the district. A one-block area within the district, however, is called Kansas City Live!, and contains two floors of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs, as well as a large, partially enclosed courtyard and concert venue (see below).
Kansas City Live!
At the heart of the Power & Light District is Kansas City Live!, a one block area devoted to live music and entertainment venues. At the center of Kansas City Live! is a covered outdoor plaza to be used for concerts. The roof system, produced by Structurflex, is made of an Ethylene TetraFluoro Ethylene (ETFE) single-skin membrane. Credit for the first roof skylight application goes to the project Pasadena Art Center (690m², installation in 2004) and the first large-scale pure roof application was for an aquatic facility in McGaheysville (appr. 4500m², installation in 2005). Construction of the roof began on August 17, 2007. The ground floor of the Kansas City Live! block focuses on bars and restaurants, including McFadden's Sports Saloon, Vinino, Ragland Road, Maker's Mark Bourbon House and Lounge, Tengo Sed Cantina, and Gordon Biersch Brewing Company. The second floor of Kansas City Live! houses the night clubs and entertainment concepts, including Mosaic Lounge, Lucky Strike Lanes, Angels Rock Bar, and Howl at the Moon.
The Kansas City Live! area of the Power & Light District was showcased before a television audience twice during May 2008. American Idol finalist David Cook played a short set from the Kansas City Live! stage on May 9, 2008, which aired during the television show the following week. The same location also hosted the official watch party for the final episode of the 2008 season, which featured a live television feed from the Power & Light District.
- Mainstreet Theater - first all-digital movie theater in the United States; shows current movies in six theaters; located at 14th & Main (opened May 1, 2009)
- Famous Dave's Legendary Pit Bar-B-Que - 6,300-square-foot (590 m2) location of the Minnesota-based barbecue restaurant chain (opened February 22, 2008; reopened March 6, 2009 )
- GNC - 1,700-square-foot (160 m2) location of the Pittsburgh-based chain of stores selling health and nutrition related products, over the counter drugs, and food supplements (opened December 31, 2008)
- Gordon Biersch Brewing Company - 8,500-square-foot (790 m2) location of the Chattanooga-based chain of brewery/restaurants† (opened March 10, 2008)
- H&R Block world headquarters (opened October, 2006)
- Hilton President Kansas City - 213-room refurbished historic 1926 hotel, featuring the Drum Room (reopened January 5, 2006)
- Howl at the Moon Piano Bar - 4,700-square-foot (440 m2) location of the Cincinnati-based chain of "dueling-piano bars"† (opened February 7, 2008)
- Jos. A. Bank - 4,300-square-foot (400 m2) location of the Maryland-based men's clothing designer and retailer located at 1320 Main St. (opened February 13, 2009)
- Midland Theatre - 3,500-person capacity concert and live music venue (reopened September 2008)
- PBR Big Sky - country and western bar located at the north end of the Kansas City Live! block at 111 E. 13th St. (opened April 10, 2008)
- Sprint Studio - 5,500-square-foot (510 m2) store in the district.(opened March 5, 2008)
- T-Mobile - 1,800-square-foot (170 m2) store 
†- located in Kansas City Live!
Cordish also plans to build four residential towers in the project. As of August, 2007, only one is under construction: a 38-floor 350-unit residential tower, which may include a boutique hotel. The site is just north of the H&R Block headquarters, on a lot once occupied by the Jones Store Company's flagship store. The department store building was demolished during the summer of 2005 and the ground was leveled and dug out beginning in March, 2006.
Cordish instituted a dress code in June 2008 that has been called racist by critics. The dress code includes a ban on bandanas, work boots, ripped or baggy clothing, shorts that fall below the knees, athletic jerseys, and chains. City Hall questioned the Cordish company about the dress code, noting that the dress code seemed targeted towards black males and was inconsistently enforced. Councilwoman Melba Curls said her son was turned away from the district, while Counselwoman Beth Gottstein stated that "the message I keep getting is that Cordish is only available to some." David Cordish stated that the company was merely attempting to reduce gang related activity. Critics further accused Cordish of exhibiting racial bias when DJ Jazzy Jeff left the stage early during a performance. Kansas City Power & Light District President Jon D. Stephens stated that "It was entirely an issue of audio and sound."
Cordish has also been criticized for being ungrateful for opposing festival licensing for other Kansas City businesses, festival licensing that it was granted to allow patrons to possess alcohol on the streets in the district.
In addition, Cordish CEO David Cordish has been criticized for repeatedly requesting additional taxpayer subsidies and police for the district. The tone of the requests was labeled "petulant", "greedy", and "uninformed" as it was noted that the company had already received over $300 million in taxpayer subsidies yet failed to open on schedule. This caused City officials to criticize the company for its "secretiveness and slowness."
In 2005, the Cordish Company successfully lobbied the Missouri General Assembly for a new law pertaining to any "entertainment district" in Downtown Kansas City which will allow patrons to remove any alcoholic beverage from any establishment in the District and carry it openly throughout the portions of the District not open to vehicular traffic, provided that the beverage is in a plastic cup marked with the logo of the establishment at which it was purchased. The Power & Light District is one of only a few places in the United States with such an open container allowance (along with the city of Butte, Montana, the Las Vegas Strip, the French Quarter of New Orleans, Key West, Florida, the Arts and Entertainment District of Huntsville, Alabama, Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, and the historic district of downtown Savannah, Georgia).
Late night visitors to the outdoor Kansas City Live! venue space are required to present identification before entry which is then scanned by a hand held scanner which verifies ID and stores zip codes and age ranges for market research. The American Civil Liberties Union has expressed disapproval of the practice and P&L representatives say that a person can ask for his or her license not to be scanned.
- "Map of the Power & Light District". Mapquest.com. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- The Cordish Company announces lead design team for Kansas City LIVE!, press release
- "Kansas City Live! will feature unique architecture", press release
- "Power & Light District Construction Reaches Next Step", Fox4 Kansas City, August 17, 2007.
- [dead link]
- "The return of Famous Dave's | Dollars & Sense". Economy.kansascity.com. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- "Power & Light's first clothing store opens Friday | Dollars & Sense". Economy.kansascity.com. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- "Ridin', Ropin' & Wranglin'.. PBR Big Sky Opens Today". Kansascity.about.com. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- [dead link]
- "Power & Light District: Downtown dress code". Myfoxkc.typepad.com. 2008-03-06. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- David Martin (2008-07-03). "Kansas City officials had plenty of warning that the Cordish Co. would impose a discriminatory dress code - Page 1 - News - Kansas City". The Pitch. Archived from the original on 2013-02-08. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- Harper, Jason (2009-06-07). "Cordish explains why DJ Jazzy Jeff's set was cut short - Kansas City News - Plog". Blogs.pitch.com. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- David Martin (2008-02-14). "Martin: Cordish Is Drunk on Power - Page 1 - News - Kansas City". The Pitch. Archived from the original on 2012-09-07. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- Section 311.086, R.S.Mo.
- "Sections 10-134 and 10-135, Kansas City Code of Ordinances". Library3.municode.com:80. Retrieved 2010-12-14.
- Rick Alm, "Drinking to be allowed on street in Power & Light District", The Kansas City Star, July 27, 2005
- Martin, David (2008-07-25). "P&L Scanners Looking For More than Fake IDs - Kansas City News - Plog". Blogs.pitch.com. Retrieved 2010-12-14.