Saturday, August 8, 2009
Kansas City Neighborhoods - a breakdown
I think that Kansas City is probably one of the most tricky cities regarding good and bad neighborhoods. If you don't know any better, you might end up with some serious buyer's remorse.
If you're planning on moving to Kansas City, you'd better understand the different neighborhoods before buying that dream... - or nightmare home.
In order to understand this blog, you might want to pull up this Map of Kansas City for reference. Kansas City is flat with no bodies of water so the streets here run in a perfect "grid" with the numbered streets running East to West, and the named streets running North and South. Isn't that handy :)
Let's start by defining Central Kansas City:
We're not going to discuss downtown Kansas City or any suburbs of Kansas City in this article - we'll do those in another blog. We're just going to focus on the area between 39th and 103rd and between Holmes Road and State Line (look at your map - or picture a square area). This is Central Kansas City.
The first rule of real estate in Central Kansas City is easy - Anything East of Holmes Road is the ghetto. This is true all the way from 5th Street (downtown) clear up to 135th street (Kansas City's most Southern point). Don't move there, enough said.
Now that we've ruled out everything East of Holmes Road, let's start with the area between 39th Street and 47th Street - East of State Line and West of Holmes. This area is pretty much considered the Westport area. Westport has gotten pretty bad lately. There is a shooting in westport almost every week. The shootings happen late at night when the ghetto folks start "cruising" the Westport bar areas - they're not there to buy anything or go into any of the nightclubs - but just to cruise around with their boom-boom music playing and sporting their tricked out cars (who's cost probably kept them from paying that month's mortgage). They are extremely rude (especially to whites) and they will shoot you. So that's nighttime in Westport - as far as the daytime goes, Westport is pretty much full of lower class "hippie" type folks who enjoy the coffee shops and the Pitch magazine. There used to be a lot of gays in Westport but most of them are making their way downtown towards the Power and Light District condos.
South of 47th Street - North of 63rd - West of Holmes - East of State Line. This area contains the Plaza, which has made Kansas City famous for it's lush fountains and top shelf shopping and dining. The plaza is a great little area and contains everything from expensive condos to affordable apartments. Plaza living is very nice - the only drawback is that there is only one grocery store within miles and it is a MAD HOUSE. South of the plaza to Gregory Boulevard is a fairly upscale neighborhood that contains a popular dog walking / picnic area called Loose Park. This area is usually defined as Brookside and it is filled with great little shops, restaurants and neighborhood bars. Brookside is getting older, however, so the upkeep on a house would probably be a huge factor - most of the houses in Brookside are well over 60 years old. The other downside to living in Brookside is that it has ZERO access to any highway.
South of Gregory - North of 85th - West of Holmes - East of State Line. This area, more commonly known as "Waldo" is a lower class area that is deteriorating fast. Abandoned buildings are everywhere, and we're starting to see more PayDay Loan shops and Fried Chicken chains opening up - oh, and pawn shops too. Always a bad sign. For some reason everyone who lives in this part of town has a dog, and all of the men wear sandals. I would stay clear of Waldo.
South of 85th - North of 103rd - West of Holmes - East of State Line. This area includes Santa Fe Hills and the Ward Parkway "mall" - if you can call it a mall. This used to be a great area but it has gone to the dogs. The lower class folk have moved in and it is NOT a good place to live.
South of 103rd - North of 135th - West of Holmes - East of State Line. This area is still fairly nice and includes Red Bridge, Bridlespur and Verona Hills. Those who live there are looking over their shoulder, however, because they know that this will be the next Kansas City neighborhood to fall. Let me just stop and explain something here: The lower class are moving their way south and west - basically to get out of the ghetto that they live in and to get away from their own kind. In reaction to this, the wealthy people are moving South and if they can afford it, WEST into beautiful and expensive Leawood, Kansas to avoid the oncoming ghetto folk. For a good example of this movement, take a look at how far south they have built up on Metcalf - wealthy people are running SOUTH. Back to this neighborhood...The best thing about this neighborhood is 435 highway. It's just blocks away. This neighborhood will be safe for about another 5-10 years before turning lower-middle class.
To be continued...stay tuned for North Kansas City, Grandview, Independence, Lee's Summit, Blue Springs and downtown kc.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Forges Magazine has recently voted Kansas City the Number 1 Abandoned City in the USA. The writer mentions that our vacancy is up to 15% in our city's buildings. He does not, however, mention the main reason why.
Here is why - In the last 5 years or so everyone has blown the Power and Light District WAY out of proportion. Real estate agents and building contractors were running around frantically buying up all of the property that surrounds the P&L in the hopes that they will get a piece of the action. They built WAY too many condos for starters.
Well I've got news for you. Kansas City is NOT a wealthy singles town. The only people who would consider living in one of those overpriced condos by the Power and Light would be single people, gay people, and retired couples. Kansas City just doesn't have enough people in that demographic to fill up all of those overpriced condos. What I mean is, Kansas City is an old fashioned Midwest-style "we like to eat a lot and go to the movies and watch crappy network television" kind of town - for the most part. Kansas City was built around families and fat people who like to live in houses and apartments in the suburbs and make babies - NOT live in expensive CONDOS downtown.
The Power and Light District is a joke in itself - have you ever actually BEEN down there? Let's just say it's not where the "cool" people hang out. The people who go down there look like they all just got off a bus from Grain Valley or something. There is no doubt that most of the folks who frequent the P&L district are from the sticks. Why do you think that the biggest thing going down there right now is friggin' "Country Music Night" ? What a joke. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah - folks visiting from the sticks are not going to buy a $450,000 condo - and the people who would buy a $450,000 condo aren't going to want to live next to a tourist attraction for hillbillies.
Kansas City being voted the number 1 abandoned city comes as no surprise to this Kansas City news writer.
Anyway, here is the article written by Forbes...
America's Abandoned Cities
Kansas City Tops List of Abandoned Cities in the Country
By ZACK O'MALLEY GREENBURG
July 25, 2009
The big news in Kansas City is the Chiefs' off-season acquisition of quarterback Matt Cassel. Filling in for injured superstar Tom Brady in New England last season, Cassel became a starter for the first time since his senior year of high school.
File Photo. The downtown Kansas City, Mo. skyline is reflected in the Missouri River at dusk Oct 15, 2008.
The downtown Kansas City, Mo. skyline is reflected in the Missouri River at dusk Oct 15, 2008 in this file photo. In the past year, rental vacancy rates rose in Kansas City from 11.9 percent to 15 percent and homeowner vacancy rates nearly doubled, up from 2.1 percent to 3.8 percent.
When trading for a backup quarterback is cause for citywide celebration, it's a sign of a metropolis starving for good news--and perhaps an indicator that other troubles are afoot.
Indeed, the Kansas City metro area tops our list of America's Abandoned Cities. In Kansas City, rental vacancy rates rose from 11.9% to 15% over the past year; homeowner vacancy rates nearly doubled, up from 2.1% to 3.8%. Comparatively, the average homeowner vacancy rate in the country's 75 largest metro areas improved slightly from 3% to 2.7%, while the rental vacancy rate edged up to 10.2% from 10% a year ago.
Kansas City isn't the only metro where rental and homeowner vacancy rates are rising in tandem. Second on our list is the San Francisco-Oakland metro, where high prices are pushing Bay Area residents out of the region. Third is Tucson, Ariz., where the aftermath of the housing boom has left a glut of inventory. The pair's predicament illustrates both sides of the vacancy coin.
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