Ever since the addition of the Power and Light District, it seems that downtown Kansas City has undergone a major transformation. What once used to be a tired collection of buildings has now become a major hubbub of entertainment. This entertainment, provided mainly by the Sprint Center, has drawn major performers from all over the world. Other buildings, such as the Nelson Atkin’s Museum of Art Bloch Building, have showcased our city’s appreciation for modern art. But the largest of these construction projects is the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, one that has been under construction since 1999. This construction project comes to a close with the grand opening this September.
The next major construction project, H&M department store, is also set to open this fall and will be located on the Country Club Plaza. Although H&M is not a provider of the fine arts, it still increases the sophistication and variety of our downtown shopping district. Lastly, on a more local level, Pizza 51 will be opening this fall in Fairway. With all of these newly constructed buildings it is becoming apparent that Kansas City is making great strides towards becoming a city of culture.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts
We’ve finally reached the big leagues, folks. Starting with the addition of the Sprint Center and now with the grand opening of the Kauffman Performing Arts Center, Kansas City has now established itself as a center of architectural integrity. This spectacular $413 million building which resembles the Sydney Opera House’s design, all sprang out of the vision of Muriel Kauffman and is a testament to our city’s appreciation of the fine arts. In 1994, Kauffman passed away and donated millions of dollars to this project, which then was passed on to her daughter, Julia Kauffman. Sixteen years later, Muriel’s dream has come to life in a building that boasts unique features such as a figaro system (a feature that allows patrons to read translations of words on the back of their seats) and shimmering lights that create the effect of an 18th century theater.
Think the structure is impressive? The lineup of musicians is bound to blow your mind even more. From performances by Yo-Yo Ma, Joshua Bell and the Saint-Saens Organ Symphony and Disney In Concert, there is something for everyone here. Most ticket prices are around $50-60 dollars, which makes this a must see activity for even the most frugal high-schooler. Whether it be a night at the ballet or an orchestra performance, these shows are sure to be different than any of your run-of-the-mill movies.
After increasing amounts of requests from customers, Highwoods Properties has listened and decided to add an H&M department store to the plaza. Because H&M does not have an online store, this will be extremely beneficial to those that are not able to make it to their stores in other states. Set to open around the holidays, this enormous store will be located between Pennsylvania and Broadway next to the Gap on the Country Club plaza. H&M is a perfect combination of Forever 21’s trendiness and Bloomingdales’ classiness and will propel Kansas City forward in terms of fashion culture. One thing that may make H&M appealing is that this 22,137 square foot space will be home to seemingly endless amounts of clothes for men, women, teens and children. These clothes can be anything from a plaid button down to a metallic one piece jumpsuit. Another positive aspect of H&M is that it also has jewelry, hair accessories, shoes, purses and little knickknacks.
The only drawback of this massive space is that shoppers can feel overwhelmed by the amount of floors to cover and racks to go through. However, H&M’s garments are well-made and affordable, making it well worth your time. Make sure to add H&M to your Christmas shopping list, as you are in for an all-day adventure.
Pizza 51 in Fairway
Fairway residents rejoice! The newest Pizza 51 plans to open their second site at 60th Street and Mission Road in your neighborhood. With innovative design, laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth deliciousness, this place has everything you could hope for in a restaurant. Also, being only minutes away from both Shawnee Mission East and Indian Hills, this restaurant is bound to be overflowing with hungry teenagers and parents alike. This pizza joint will serve mouth-watering pizza by the slice and is sure to give Spin a run for their money.
Owner, Jason Pryor, began construction on the old Sinclair gas station in May and plans to finish early this fall. From the white and black checkered floors to the stainless steel fixtures and candy apple red accents, this place screams hip. The menu features a unique assortment of original pizza combinations such as the Cowtown Lovers or the Highway Special, yet also offers sandwiches, wraps and salads. Pizza 51 is also sponsoring the first Annual Prairie Pride 5K and one mile Fun Run, which will take place on Saturday Sept. 24 with a course that winds around the neighboring area. The proceeds from this run will go towards supporting Prairie Elementary School and will help to spread the word for this up-and-coming restaurant.