Sunday, August 20, 2017

The New Red Bridge Shopping Center Pros and Cons by KCMB News Kansas City

The Red Bridge Shopping Center has been under renovation for the past year, improving the exterior of the strip mall, and attracting new businesses to a once defunct lot. In the 1980's the residents of this part of town were mostly middle to upper middle class people who could afford to frequent the businesses that were in place at the Red Bridge Shopping Center. The Red Bridge Shopping Center was a thriving center complete with a movie theater, a bowling alley, a Baskin Robbins, several medium to high quality restaurants including Whisker Rivey's, Guacamole Grill and a Pizza Hut. Today, amidst the new renovation, there have been a few changes in the surrounding neighborhood population. In this article we're going to discuss the pros and cons of the new renovation.

PRO - The Wonderscope Children's Museum
A long time staple of the Shawnee Mission community plans to move it's children's museum to the new Red Bridge Shopping Center. The museum will share a brand new building with the Mid-Continent Public Library of Kansas City. This move is slotted to occur within the next 2 years. The Wonderscope Children's Museum was founded in 1989 and has resided in empty school buildings since it's inception. The Museum brings in around 70,000 visitors each year, which will result in a well needed boost in foot traffic on the grounds.

CON - Large population of Lower Class Apartment Renters
The residents that surround the Red Bridge Shopping Center today are an odd mixture of older middle class homeowners (many retired) and a massive population of lower class apartment renters. Most notably the apartment complex that shares the name of the golf course. This complex is MASSIVE in size and population, in a steep and absolute decline, with little or no maintenance being done and its delapidated apartment buildings brimming with the lowest of the lower class. Our guess is that the complex will eventually become government housing. For an example of what a neighborhood with government housed apartment complexes looks like, take a trip down to the 18th and Vine District and walk around for awhile.  If you want to look at what current residents of these apartments have to say, read the Google Reviews. The words "cockroaches" and "bedbugs" appear most predominantly. Another apartment complex that is right next door to the Red Bridge Shopping Center rents mostly to lower middle class residents and has also been on a slow decline in resident and structural quality in the past decade. Look for them to start becoming similar to the neighboring apartment complex east of Holmes by the golf course.

PRO - The Blue Moose
The Blue Moose will be an exception to the rule in this case because their prices will be high enough to cater only to the middle to upper middle class. The lower class won't likely be attracted to The Blue Moose in general, since they are not known for drinking micro brewed beers, listening to Jimmy Buffet and eating $10 appetizers. The Blue Moose's success will depend on how many of the surrounding middle class home owners frequent it. There is only one other bar in the shopping center, which does not appeal to the lower class apartment renters as it is frequented mostly by regulars who have been going there for decades.

CON - Obvious Signs of The Times
The most obvious sign of the times for this specific area of Red Bridge was when the Pizza Hut on the corner of Holmes and Minor Drive turned into a McDonald's. As the local residents became predominantly lower class, the Pizza Hut was too expensive for those residents and McDonald's quickly jumped at the chance to move in. Other signs of the times for the Red Bridge area is the strip mall located at 99th and Holmes. On both sides of 99th street we have watched a Gomer's restaurant turn into a Dollar Store, TWO urban barber shops moved in,  and the addition of a nightclub where there was a double shooting just a week ago, only a few months after it opened. As any Kansas City native will tell you, the bad neighborhoods creep slowly from the North to the South and from East to West. As the wealthy move South and West (Ironwood, Leawood, Hallbrook, Royce, Verona Hills), the lower class and lower middle class move into the neighborhoods left behind (Sante Fe Hills, Bridlespur, Red Bridge).

CON - High Crime Rate
Along with the decline of the average income level in this area, there has also been a steep rise in the crime rate near and around the shopping center including multiple shootings at nearby establishments and the multiple murders on the Indian Creek Trail that have yet gone unsolved. Many of the wealthier residents around the center will opt to travel a short distance to Leawood, choosing to head West rather than East for their shopping and dining.

Failed Attempts
The proof is right in front of you if you ever visit the Red Bridge Shopping Center. The brand new hardware store that came in at the first of the year is not pulling any business. It could be that their prices are a little high, it could be that the overwhelming lower class apartment dwelling population that surrounds the Red Bridge Shopping Center has no interest in hardware stores, either way it's difficult to forsee the new hardware store staying open much longer. They have a friendly staff and luckily they have a couple of other stores in the Kansas City area to fall back on, but the location at Red Bridge is just not working out. Another example of a failed attempt at "rejuvenating" the Red Bridge Shopping area is the complete failure of the brand new "Red Bridge Greens". This was supposed to be a gated community that held 50 homes on 9 acres. This plan fell on it's face because who in their right mind would want to buy a brand new home at the mouth of the entrance to Grandview, Missouri?

Demographics Homework Incomplete
Demographics in Kansas City proper are VERY tricky. KC is not as clear cut as our Kansas neighbors. For instance, we all know that Prairie Village gets the moms, kids, ice cream, n'er too many a grocery store, and a pet grooming business that could remarkably succeed. However, in Kansas City proper, the class and income level of a neighborhood can swing wildly in just a few short city blocks. It's important to do your demographics homework before you open a brick and mortar business in Kansas City for these reasons.

A few possible solutions for the Red Bridge Shopping Center is to somehow convince the owners of the two large apartment complexes to either close permanently, or upgrade their property to $100,000 + condos for sale only. Secondly, they would have to convince the government to close Red Bridge road where it pours into Grandview so that Grandview residents would have to find another way home instead of travelling through Red Bridge and clogging up Red Bridge Road every afternoon. Obviously, these are not viable solutions. The best investment at this point would be to open up a check cashing place, a liquor store, and a pawn shop. Any of those businesses would flourish there.

This Red Bridge Shopping Center article by KCMB Kansas City News, official kc news site with breaking stories on The Kansas City Royals, Chiefs, charity events, weather, sports, MU, KU, ufo sightings, dui checkpoints, Kansas City neighborhoods, nightlife, concerts, the Sprint Center, the Power and Light District and current Kansas City news articles.


Anonymous said...

Whisker Riveys! Those were the days. This article makes a few good points, especially that those apartment complexes need to go.

MikeyG48 said...

The Fine Arts Theaters were a great addition and puffff they were gone - BIG mistake.

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