Plans for Commerce Tower downtown to bring new life to Kansas City’s core

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Apartments, a university, offices, a bank, stores, and an early-education center: it will soon all be located at Commerce Tower, a 31-story building near 9th and Main downtown.

“I think it's a good idea. I think people will be more prone to come down and spend money in this area,” said Brian Walker, a Kansas City resident.

Some Kansas City residents are excited about all the changes happening downtown.

One of those changes is the rehabilitation of the old Commerce Tower.

“It's right along and adjacent to our brand new street car lines, so it's a $139 million investment, part of a $1.7 billion investment going on right now in downtown Kansas City,” said Troy Schulte, the City Manager for Kansas City, Mo.

Schulte said the streetcar facilitated this redevelopment.

“What we're hoping is that the street car will bring more people to downtown, more businesses to downtown, a lot of start-up entrepreneurial companies,” Schulte added.

“They won't have to worry about the traffic, and maybe they can park on the perimeter and let the street car bring them in,” Walker said.

Today city leaders and those involved in the project spoke about the redevelopment and what the future holds for the downtown area.

“I think it's good to revitalize this area,” Walker said. “I think the businesses coming in, breathing new life into downtown, get younger people in.”

Schulte said he's a firm believer that a city is only as strong as its core, and the goal is to create an interactive city for entertainment, as well as to be a place where people want to live.

“One of the things that we're trying to do is create a 24-hour living, breathing city, that at 5 o'clock in the afternoon, the shutters don't close and everybody goes home,” Schulte said. “What Commerce brought to us was a fully-mixed use development. It's got schools, it's got restaurants, residential properties, office space. So from a city perspective, it had everything we wanted.”

“I think it would be a cool area to see grow,” Walker said.