Help Preserve Old Westport
Dear Friends of Old Westport,
There is growing concern about the pace and scale of redevelopment projects that the group says could change the face of historic Westport.
Westport is perhaps the most important historic district of Kansas City, yet most of its historic buildings have no protection from demolition. If we don’t act quickly, the Westport that we know today and that many people have loved for decades could be gone very quickly
We hope you will join us in an effort to slow down current and future development proposals until we complete a historic survey of Westport.
Several large projects are on the table.
On March 6, the Kansas City Business Journal reported the Minnesota-based Opus Group has submitted plans for a "mixed-used project including 256 apartments, 8,500 square feet of commercial space and a 275-space parking garage.” The proposed development would replace the Bank of America Building at the southwest corner of Westport Road and Broadway.
A rendering with the proposed redevelopment of Westport Road and Broadway, includes a six-story apartment and commercial building. Note the change in scale between the new building and the traditional two-story Westport building on the bottom left hand side of this picture and in the image below.
This 1915 view looking south on Broadway toward the intersection of Westport Road and Broadway. Courtesy Kansas City Public LIbrary Missouri Valley Special Collections.
The building (visible in the image above) dates back to 1876. The Westport Avenue Bank, then the oldest suburban bank in Kansas City, purchased the property and remodeled it in 1920.
Meanwhile, the building at the southwest corner of Westport and Broadway was recently replaced with a new restaurant and bar operated by the national HopCat chain. Another developer is currently revising plans which originally called for a pair of 14-story mixed use towner above Manor Square. A Wichita developer last year presented plans for replacing the former XO nightclub at 40th and Central with a four-story Town Place Suites by Marriott extended stay hotel.
Survey: A Tool for Evaluating and Responding to Development Proposals
We are asking for assistance from the community to immediately conduct a professional survey of Westport’s current properties. This survey will assess the historic and cultural importance of Old Westport and help us to make important decisions about what should be preserved in the future. The survey will provide a starting point for a community discussion about how to move forward in preserving Old Westport.
But we need to move quickly, before more projects hit the drawing board. We ask you to contribute what you can to help use raise the $25,000 we need to move forward with the survey.
About Help Save Old Westport
The goal of Help Save Old Westport is to preserve, protect and promote the architectural character and historical significance of Old Westport’s buildings and landscape. Some members of The Help Save Old Westport working group include Mary Jo Draper, Alana Smith, Bob Babcock, Thomas Platt, Louise Myers and more. Several members of Historic Kansas City are also meeting with the group, as well as managing the GoFundMe contributions.
Thank you. If you prefer to make a private contribution, please contact:
Jim Wanser, Treasurer
Historic Kansas City Organization
234 W 10th Street, Kansas City, Missouri 64105
Greg Allen, Past President of Historic Kansas City and a member of our working group, was interviewed this week about the project ... have a look: http://www.kctv5.com/clip/13135633/community-raising-funds-for-old-westport
Unfortunately it is not the city's job to do the surveys. Groups like ours who want to have one done, as a first step toward any type of application for a historic designation or other forms of historical preservation, must solicit funding from private sources including our own pockets. We appreciate all support for this project from sharing the information to help spread the word, or if possible, making contributions to the fund. Thank you
Isn't it the city's job to do historic surveys?