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Building a Better 2019

Each year the rest of the world discovers a little bit more about why Kansas City area residents love calling it home, and the best-kept secret in the Midwest is finally out of the bag: National Geographic named Kansas City, Missouri one of its top travel destinations of 2019.


Treasures such as our amazing barbecue, beautiful museums and unique West Bottoms neighborhood landed KCMO on this international list of only 28 destinations, which the publication’s website summarized as a city that “just has soul.” The myriad of reasons to love this place only continues to grow, and 2019 is shaping up to leave its own mark on our beloved town with some major updates to the landscape.


The Shawnee Mission Post recently reported that the Leawood City Council has finally given its stamp of approval on redevelopment plans for the longstanding Ranch Mart North shopping center, located off the northeast corner 95th Street and Mission Road. The current structure, which dates back to the 1960s, has an unremarkable strip-mall style with an outdated wood shingle roof and inconspicuous signage for its tenants. The new plans favor a much more modern look, with tall rooflines and sleek angles comparable to the design of southern Leawood staples such as Crate & Barrel and the Apple Store.


Another big project on the books is the CityPlace development on the southwest corner of College Boulevard and 69 Highway, which is already under construction. The Kansas City Business Journal reports that the development will boast four office buildings, luxury apartments, a senior housing complex, retail shops and more. This certainly isn’t the first community of its kind, as similar developments such as Mission Farms, Prairie Fire and BluHawk have popped up over the years to bring the urban experience of working, living and playing in one area to the suburbs.


Not everyone is thrilled about these types of gentrification projects; there is understandable worry that they could detract from the character the KC area is known for. Fear not, for there are plenty of hidden gems anchoring themselves into our crown city as well.


Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters, a haven for java junkies, cocktail enthusiasts and hipsters of all kinds since 2012, recently announced on social media that it has outgrown its famous Crossroads location next to Grinders. The coffee shop will soon be closing down in favor of moving to a larger space that has not yet been confirmed, but when the new location materializes it is sure to be better than ever.


A new attraction in the Crossroads, though not brand new in 2019, is an elevated take on the traditional food court concept. Parlor is an upscale food hall that opened at 17th and Locust in the fall of 2018, which features two bars and seven small restaurants with chef-crafted food and cocktails in a delightfully relaxed environment. Their simple slogan, “Drink. Eat. Repeat.” is a nod to the culinary adventure available to each patron: grab a cocktail, sample a menu item that catches your eye from any of the culturally diverse dining establishments, and restart the cycle until your heart and belly are full. With everything from traditional Korean fare to Scandinavian street food, you don’t have to visit the other 27 cities on Nat Geo’s list to take a trip around the world.