Greater downtown population jumps 29% in new census results
Published on August 17, 2021 at 12:35
Image Credit Above: All Downtown’s newest resident Jessica Best Stewart and her husband Brian Stewart had to do to celebrate the Chiefs’ Super Bowl win was get out of home at Western Auto Lofts. (Contributed | Jessica Best Stewart)
Kansas City’s downtown population jumped 29.4% over the past decade to 27,831, according to the 2020 census, thanks in part to people like Jessica Best.
“We’ve lived in the Western Auto building for eight years and love the way Crossroads has grown around us,” said Best, a 39-year-old employee at Barkley Advertising.
“I live, work, play, eat, walk – everything downtown. I can walk to work, walk to a restaurant with a James Beard award-winning chef, and walk to 17 cafes.
“Everything we need is here.”
The new census results showed significantly faster growth in Downtown compared to Kansas City as a whole, which grew 10.4% to 508,000, and gives advocates reason to believe the center -ville is poised to attract new retailers, including a highly sought-after urban target.
“We absolutely have the population they’re interested in,” said Tommy Wilson, who does business recruiting for the Downtown Council.
“I think Target is looking at downtown because we have 28,000 to 30,000 residents, plus visitors and office workers.”
Census results released last week were around 10 per cent lower than the City Center Council’s estimate for last year, 31,000, and the population has likely increased significantly since the census more than a year ago. one year.
Since April 2020, several new apartment projects have opened downtown, including Artistry KC, City Club, and REVERB, and other projects are under construction or in the works, such as the 321-unit Three Light tower that opened last month.
At 27,831, the greater town center had roughly the same number of inhabitants as Gladstone.
The Greater Downtown is defined by the Downtown Council as including the River Market, West Bottoms, Columbus Park, Central Business District (CBD), Crossroads, Westside, Crown Center, Union Hill, and Hospital Hill neighborhoods.
The CBD alone had 9,743 residents in 2020, thanks in part to new apartment projects like Two Light being developed in the Power & Light District by Cordish Co., and the renovation of old office buildings into residential projects .
“We have long believed in downtown and we continue to make large-scale investments to create more opportunities for people to experience downtown living,” said John Moncke, the new chairman of the Power & Light District.
“We are seeing huge demand for the downtown lifestyle at One Light and Two Light, and we expect that to continue.
“That’s why we’re working hard to keep improving the overall downtown experience, and we’ve just opened Three Light. There’s a lot more to come.
Bill Dietrich, president and CEO of the Downtown Council, was pleased with the census results. The objective of his organization is to increase the population of the city center to 40,000 inhabitants.
“Having this residential population made us more resilient to the COVID pandemic,” Dietrich said.
“What we hear from residents is that they feel good and love where they are. People feel comfortable. When you come downtown, it gives you more comfort to see that people live here and frequent businesses.
Christopher McKinney, 32, and his wife, Lana, moved into an apartment in the historic Power & Light Building in 2020. They have since added a five-month-old baby girl, Selah.
“My wife and I used to spend quite a bit of money traveling from Zona Rosa to work downtown and we also spent a lot of free time here, so we decided to move,” said McKinney, who works for the Urban Neighborhood Initiative.
“It’s so walkable and lots to do.”
Garret McBay, 23, moved into an apartment at 21 Ten building in the San Francisco-area Library Lofts District earlier this year after accepting a job offer from VMLY&R.
“The location was good, the price wasn’t terrible, and it was available,” he said. “I like living in the city center because of the availability of everything and having the tram in front of my house is good.”
A recent Downtown Council survey of downtown residents found that 92% of 830 residents were satisfied or very satisfied with their choice. What would make it better, they said, was more shopping options and places to take their pets.
The Downtown Council estimates that millennials make up about 52% of the downtown population, followed by millennials at 17%; baby boomers, 16%; and Generation Z, 12%.
Jon Copaken, former president of the Downtown Council and director of Copaken Brooks, is delighted that the downtown area has more than 28,000 residents. His company has developed two apartment projects at the crossroads, ARTerra and REVERB.
“Twenty years ago I guess we had 7,000 or 8,000 people,” he said. “It bodes very well, but we still need to keep the gas on for more residential development and density.
“We need to get to that 40,000 number to power the energy we want here.”
Copaken agreed that downtown is ready for more retail, including the “junior box” category to which urban targets fall.
“The numbers are where these people are snooping and interested in what’s going on,” he said.
Flatland contributor Kevin Collison is the founder of CityScene KC, an online source for downtown news and issues. Liam Dai contributed to this report.