Kansas City Power & Light District

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Power & Light District
Power & Light District logo.png
Location 1100 Walnut Street
Suite 3000
Kansas City, Missouri 64106
Coordinates 39°05′52″N 94°34′56″W / 39.09778°N 94.58222°W / 39.09778; -94.58222
Owner Cordish Company
Type Mixed-use retail, entertainment, office, and residential development
Capacity nine city block area
Built 2005 - 2008
Opened First tenant opened November 9, 2007; various openings through 2008 and 2009

The Kansas City Power & Light District or Power & Light District or P&L 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.[1] The $850 million mixed use district is one of the largest development projects in the Midwestern United States[2] 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.


Sprint Center and Power & Light District looking from the convention center.

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![edit]

The interior of the Kansas City Live! block of the Power & Light District under the ETFE roof system, featuring the Kansas City Live! stage, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, and Maker's Mark Bourbon House and Lounge
Another view of Kansas City Live! under the roof with the city skyline in the distance, looking north.
Vinino on the ground floor, and Howl at the Moon on the second floor on the eastern edge of the Kansas City Live! block
View looking west on 13th Street toward the namesake Kansas City Power & Light building.
View looking east on 13th Street toward the Sprint Center.

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).[3] Construction of the roof began on August 17, 2007.[4] The ground floor of the Kansas City Live! block focuses on bars and restaurants, including McFadden's Sports Saloon, Cleaver & Cork, The Dubliner, Johnny's Tavern, Pizza, Bar, Tengo Sed Cantina, and Gordon Biersch Brewing Company. The second floor of Kansas City Live! houses the night clubs and entertainment concepts, including Mosaic Ultra Lounge, Angels Rock Bar, Howl at the Moon, PBR Big Sky, Hotel Nightclub, and Shark Bar.

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.[5]

Notable tenants[edit]

  • Alamo Drafthouse 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)[6]
  • 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)[7]
  • 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)[8]
  • 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 [9]

†- 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.

On April 22, 2014, Cordish officially broke ground on the first apartment tower called One Light. The tower is 25 stories tall and connected to the nearby Cosentino's Grocery store.[10]

On January 14, 2015 Kansas City officials acknowledged that further discussions had been made for construction of a 2nd residential tower. The 2nd tower would be called Two Light and be located on Truman Road between Walnut Street and Grand Boulevard. If an agreement were to be reached then construction would begin towards the end of 2015. [11]

On April 9, 2015, Cordish officially announced the second apartment tower called Two Light. The tower will be 24 stories tall. Construction is to begin in early 2016.


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.[12] City Hall questioned the Cordish company about the dress code, noting that the dress code seemed targeted towards black males and was inconsistently enforced.[13] Councilwoman Melba Curls said her son was turned away from the district, while Councilwoman Beth Gottstein stated that "the message I keep getting is that Cordish is only available to some."[13] David Cordish stated that the company was merely attempting to reduce gang related activity.[14] Critics further accused Cordish of exhibiting racial bias when DJ Jazzy Jeff left the stage early during a performance.[15] Kansas City Power & Light District President Jon D. Stephens stated that "It was entirely an issue of audio and sound."[15]

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.[16]

In addition, Cordish CEO David Cordish has been criticized for repeatedly requesting additional taxpayer subsidies and police for the district.[17] 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.[17] This caused City officials to criticize the company for its "secretiveness and slowness."[17]

Festival License[edit]

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.[18][19][20] 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 at one time were required to present identification before entry which was then scanned by a hand held scanner which verified the validity of the ID and stored the ID's zip code and age range for market research. The American Civil Liberties Union expressed disapproval of the practice and P&L representatives responded that a person can ask for his or her license not to be scanned.[21][22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Map of the Power & Light District". Mapquest.com. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  2. ^ The Cordish Company announces lead design team for Kansas City LIVE!, press release
  3. ^ "Kansas City Live! will feature unique architecture", press release
  4. ^ "Power & Light District Construction Reaches Next Step", Fox4 Kansas City, August 17, 2007.
  5. ^ http://www.myfoxkc.com/myfox/pages/Entertainment/Detail?contentId=6576725&version=1&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=7.5.1
  6. ^ [1] Archived August 13, 2009 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Power & Light's first clothing store opens Friday | Dollars & Sense". Economy.kansascity.com. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  8. ^ "Ridin', Ropin' & Wranglin'.. PBR Big Sky Opens Today". Kansascity.about.com. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  9. ^ [2][dead link]
  10. ^ http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2014/03/14/work-on-cordishs-one-light-apartment-tower-will.html?page=all
  11. ^ http://www.kansascity.com/news/business/article6487785.html
  12. ^ "Power & Light District: Downtown dress code". Myfoxkc.typepad.com. 2008-03-06. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  13. ^ a b 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. 
  14. ^ [3]
  15. ^ a b 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. 
  16. ^ 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. 
  17. ^ a b c [4]
  18. ^ Section 311.086, R.S.Mo.
  19. ^ "Sections 10-134 and 10-135, Kansas City Code of Ordinances". Library3.municode.com:80. Retrieved 2010-12-14. 
  20. ^ Rick Alm, "Drinking to be allowed on street in Power & Light District", The Kansas City Star, July 27, 2005
  21. ^ 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. 
  22. ^ http://www.nbcactionnews.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=12FAF682-DEF6-4A6D-A7FE-228CBBAA9C5C&gsa=true

External links[edit]