Halls Plaza building will house several upscale, exclusive retailers

06/05/2014 9:26 AM

06/06/2014 10:32 AM

Highwoods Properties plans a major makeover of its Halls Plaza building that will add more retailers and restaurants to its roster.

Halls Plaza, at 211 Nichols Road, is set to close Aug. 3. The upscale department store will consolidate with its Crown Center store.

Then the Halls Plaza building will be converted to Plaza 211, which could have six to eight retailers — mostly upscale, exclusive tenants to the Plaza — as well as one or two restaurants. Construction is scheduled to start in September for a fall 2015 opening.

“Halls is a Kansas City icon and we are going to miss them, not only for their long history but also for their merchandise mix,” said Glenn Stephenson, vice president and division manager for Highwoods. “But this is an exciting opportunity for us. We want to continue to be known as Kansas City’s premier office, retail and entertainment area.”

Halls Plaza opened in 1965. The 29,000-square-foot first floor will be divided up for several retailers, with entrances on Nichols Road and soaring ceilings inside. A restaurant space is penciled in for the corner of Nichols Road and Wyandotte Street and could possibly be on two levels, with an upper balcony for outdoor dining.

No leases have been signed, but Highwoods expects to announce some of the tenants by October. Halls’ cosmetics, women’s shoes and men’s departments have been big consumer draws, and new tenants could offer similar goods, Stephenson said.

“But we will never be able to replace the bridal registry because no one is doing that,” he said. “We’re not in the business of simply leasing space. We want the right merchandise mix, and we have great prospective tenants to fill these spaces.”

Slaggie Architects Inc. is the managing architect for the project, and Highwoods said it would use only local general contractors.

Plaza 211 will have a mostly brick masonry and terra cotta facade with accents of decorative tile friezes, cornices and mosaics to complement the Plaza’s Spanish architecture.

Halls previously converted part of the second floor parking garage to a second floor retail space. That space will be converted back to parking, increasing spaces in the building from 660 to more than 750. The upper parking levels will have a band of illuminated spandrel glass to brighten up the building at night and grillwork that will allow in natural light in the day. The distinctive Moorish archways at Halls entryways could be reused on the parking levels.

The bright new storefront windows along Nichols Road, designed for window shopping, as well as the outdoor balcony dining area and new light fixtures on the upper facades are designed to re-energize the east side of the Plaza.

Streetscape improvements will include outdoor seating and decorative paved crosswalks midblock.

In June 2013, Halls said it no longer made economic sense to operate two Halls stores within about 20 blocks.

The new Halls on Grand at Crown Center is taking over much of the third floor of Crown Center Shops. It will have an expanded beauty department of 5,000 square feet, a new contemporary men’s and women’s department called “The Bridge,” an in-store cafe and bar, spacious new fitting rooms with custom furniture and designer wall coverings, and valet parking. A mid-September opening is scheduled.

Carnie Kline, spokeswoman for Halls, said in a statement: “Halls has always been, and will continue to be, on the forefront of introducing the most sought-after brands to Kansas City. For shoppers who seek a full range of designer brands from Gucci to Jason Wu, there will only be one place — the new Halls on Grand.”

To reach Joyce Smith, call 816-234-4692 or send email to jsmith@kcstar.com. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter at JoyceKC.

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