September 24, 2005

$340M Downtown Redevelopment Plan For Kansas City

"An ambitious proposal to transform a dreary 12-block section of downtown’s east side into a cozy neighborhood anchored by corporate offices is expected to begin in earnest today," the Kansas City Star reported yesterday. "If successful, an underused swath of surface parking lots and scattered buildings northeast of City Hall will be redeveloped into a project with 1,183 housing units, 87,200 square feet of retail and 213,000 square feet of office space that backers hope will house a new headquarters for J.E. Dunn Construction Co."

The East Village redevelopment plan would keep "the more historic and commercially viable buildings in the area," the paper notes.

There are some extremely nice pedestrian-friendly touches in a drawing of a street in the plan.

Buildings are up at the sidewalk but not crowding the sidewalk - they're human-scale, leaving enough room for walkers but not too much (massive open swathes of concrete don't do much for pedestrian life, as Boston's City Hall Plaza demonstrates). And the building fronts are architecturally interesting - it's not all just one long flat wall, but broken up by bay windows and such. That variety of building shape helps make a place pedestrian appealing, such as Boston's Newbury Street and parts of Beacon Street in both Boston and Brookline.

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