New ownership at Ward Parkway Center brings changes, security concerns

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- You may have noticed some changes at Ward Parkway Center, but there are more than you may realize, and that could include center security. Some changes may be for the better, but others are being questioned.

There is a new owner of the shopping center, but Legacy Development isn't saying who. A representative for the company says they will still handle management, and leasing for their retail spaces. They say the deal went through in December of last year, but the new owner would prefer to remain anonymous.

Shoppers say they hope the new ownership will bring positive changes.

"That's good. I hope they renovate the insides. It could use a little work. It's been here a while," shopper Mike Broadbeck said.

"Ownership really needs to think about the populous. The people that live here, the people that come, and what they would like, because it's all about what the customer likes," shopper Liam Aguilar said.

However, sources within the mall say within the past week security at the center is not the same. They say the center let off duty officers hired through Rockwell Security know they would not be continuing with their services. Off duty officers who patrolled the parking lots at night. KCPD says since the beginning of the year they've been called to the center more than sixty times. According to the department, most of those calls come from off duty officers needing backup.

Back in May, a man was killed leaving the Genesis Health Club, and in 2007, an active shooter killed three shoppers at Ward Parkway. But shoppers say they feel safe at the center.

"I always feel safe coming here. I'm not worried about it, honestly. It happens everywhere so I just keep coming back," Broadbeck said.

"I do. It's easy to tell this is a good area," Aguilar said.

Sources within the mall say some stores are on the way, like a new Bath and Body Works, a recently added T-Mobile, and others may be leaving. Shoppers are hoping any possible closures could lead to better stores.

"You walk in and you see it in about five minutes. It's just really tiny. Really small. So, I think more people would go if it had more to offer," Aguilar said.

"I think it's been about ten years since I've actually been inside there just because of the outdated stores, so I think if they do renovate it I'd go in and check it out," Broadbeck said.

FOX4 reached out to Ward Parkway Center, and Rockwell Security, about the safety concerns, but at the time of this article they have not responded.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.