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MILLIONS IN NEW SHOPS

DATE OF EVENT: Springtime, 1922

DATE PUBLISHED: Sunday, April 30, 1922, in The Kansas City Star

Editor’s note: Rumors of a major development had swirled around the Kansas City’s business community since 1907 when reports surfaced that real estate developer J.C. Nichols had begun buying up pieces of swampy land along Brush Creek. In 1922, his company announced it was ready to build the Country Club Plaza.

The Spanish-style district would be situated near Nichols’ Country Club neighborhoods in the southwest part of town. It was the nation’s first shopping district designed with the automobile specifically in mind. The first retail building would open in 1923.

An outlying business center, planned in compliance with modern traffic demands, involving an ultimate expenditure of 5 million dollars and with all its buildings in architectural harmony, is to be built by the J. C. Nichols Development Company on thirty acres of land west of Mill Creek parkway at Forty-seventh street.

Work on the initial group of ten shops at the northwest corner of Forty-seventh street and Mill Creek parkway will start within thirty days. These buildings, as well as those that follow, will be placed according to a landscape and ground plan that has been adopted in advance for the whole area, to be known as the Country Club Plaza.

J. C. Nichols is applying to a new business district the principles of advance planning that have gained him at least nation-wide recognition in his residential developments. It is essential the new district be not only attractive to the eye, affording also a maximum of convenience, but that it be made commercially profitable.

Meeting these essential requirements the new Kansas City development may set a new standard for outlying business districts all over the country. It is certain to be watched closely by architects and realtors in the larger cities.

To carry out this project the J. C. Nichols Development Company not only has extended its ownership over all the land involved, but has acquired more than six thousand front feet of additional holdings on the hillside surrounding the valley. This ground is being held as sites for family hotels and apartment buildings.

“We anticipate ultimately a nearby population of approximately ten thousand people,” Mr. Nichols said yesterday. “As for passing traffic, studies for the last three years have shown each year an increase of more than 100 per cent in motor car traffic at Mill Creek and Forty-seventh.”

In the new business district more than twice the customary street area will be provided against motor car congestion. Existing streets will be widened and new thoroughfares created. In addition large parking spaces will be set aside.

A wide diagonal thoroughfare, “The Alameda,” a winding, tree lined boulevard, will open at a central point in a large plaza with a central fountain space. The landscape development has been a subject of study for months by George E. Kessler and Hare & Hare. Various specialists in business property development have also been questioned.

The buildings will follow a general Spanish type of architecture.

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