July 31, 2014

As one Halls closes, the other readies for a September debut

The Country Club Plaza’s upscale department store is scheduled to close Sunday after nearly 50 years of operations. It is consolidating with a new 60,000-square-foot Halls store in Crown Center that is scheduled to open in mid-September.

After nearly 50 years of operation, Halls is shutting down its Country Club Plaza store on Sunday.

Starting Monday, it will begin moving some of the store’s fixtures — including chandeliers and midcentury Knoll furniture — to the new Halls on Grand, which is scheduled to open in mid-September.

This week on the third floor of the Crown Center Shops at 2450 Grand Blvd., Halls president and chief executive officer Kelly Cole gave a hard hat tour of the 60,000-square-foot store now under construction.

Cole said the new Crown Center store, with a price of about $10 million, will be a metrowide draw for its “reimagined retail experience,” its central location, and its lineup of traditional and contemporary designers.

Halls on Grand’s features will include:

The Bridge — in an overpass structure that spans Grand Boulevard — will house the men’s and women’s contemporary departments. The 8,500-square-foot “urban-industrial environment” will have an exposed ceiling and painted concrete floor with its own sound system. Its lounge area, in front of a 60-foot window, will have a view of the downtown skyline.

H Bar, a full-service cafe and bar serving soups, salads, sandwiches and cocktails, will seat about 20 people. Kansas City’s Roasterie is creating a Halls on Grand specialty blend of coffee for the cafe.

A 5,000-square-foot interactive beauty department. Each brand will have boutique-like settings. Customers also will be able to test men’s and women’s fragrances at a new fragrance bar. Makeup application and treatment stations will be tucked away from the higher-traffic area. It also will have an event space for makeup demonstrations and designer personal appearances.

Larger dressing rooms with lounge-like waiting areas.

Mobile point of sale services — wireless devices that will let sales associates research products and process purchases throughout the store.

Wider parking spaces on the third level of the parking garage. Valet parking services are $7.

A year ago, Halls announced it would close its Plaza store and consolidate it with a relocated and expanded Crown Center store. Halls said it no longer made economic sense to operate two Halls stores within 20 blocks of each other.

While the move highlights the resurgence of downtown Kansas City, it also marks the end of what was once a Plaza anchored by large, upscale traditional department stores. Highwoods Properties plans to redevelop the 55,000-square-foot Halls Plaza building at 211 Nichols Road for several retailers as well as one or two restaurant tenants.

The new Crown Center Halls store will open on the third floor of the Crown Center Shops. So some third-floor retail tenants moved to the second floor, relocated to other shopping centers or closed.

Halls hired Charles Sparks + Company, an award-winning retail store design firm that counts Neiman Marcus among its clients. It is creating a look that is designed to appeal to everyone from longtime customers to young adults — uncluttered, bright and airy with “moments of luxury” that will include artworks, LED lighting and 75-inch video monitors showing fashion photography, vendors’ videos and information on Halls on Grand events.

“Our look will be sophisticated and modern with a dose of whimsy, when appropriate,” Cole said.

Tables will show apparel items, shoes, bags and related merchandise together to help customers put together a complete outfit. Designer brands will include Oscar de la Renta, Jo Malone London, Gucci and Prada. Halls on Grand also will offer an expanded selection of casual clothes — “great denim, date night tops, edgy fashion,” Cole said.

Halls will continue to offer such services as a wedding registry, corporate gifts, gift wrapping and alterations.

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

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