Business

The Point continues to face an uncertain future as a midtown bar

A rezoning request to develop the building next door to The Point, a bar at 44th Street and Belleview Avenue, has ramped up conflict between the bar and Country Club Bank, its neighbor across 44th Street.
A rezoning request to develop the building next door to The Point, a bar at 44th Street and Belleview Avenue, has ramped up conflict between the bar and Country Club Bank, its neighbor across 44th Street. dstafford@kcstar.com

Overnight use of The Point’s parking lot, litter, and a homicide victim found in 2015 on its midtown Kansas City property have made County Club Bank a long-standing critic of the bar across the street from the bank at 44th Street and Belleview Avenue.

A rezoning request, sought in recent weeks to allow The Point’s operator to open a coffee shop in a building next door to the bar, now has opened the door for the bank to ramp up complaints about the bar.

The Kansas City Council faces a decision — with a postponed vote scheduled for June 29 — that could put the three-decades-old tavern out of business.

An attorney for the bank has filed a protest petition with signatures from the bank president and three other commercial property owners who own nearby properties in the 4300 and 4400 blocks of Belleview and Madison Avenue.

The protest requires at least nine council members, instead of the usual seven-vote majority, to approve a rezoning for The Point that would allow it to continue operating as a bar.

The challenge to the bar’s existence arose earlier this year when the bar’s operator, Melissa Redman, sought city approval to turn a building next door to the bar into a coffee house. When the City Planning and Development Department looked into that zoning request, it found a confusing situation for the bar.

The Point apparently is authorized to be a restaurant, not a tavern in which alcohol produces most of its revenue.

City planners sought to correct The Point’s zoning error along with considering the proper zoning for the building next door. The planning department also sought to bring the bar and next-door building into zoning compliance with land-use guidelines set by the Midtown Plaza Area Plan.

After contentious presentations before the City Plan Commission in May and the City Council’s Planning, Zoning and Economic Development Committee in early June, a hammered-out rezoning proposal was made. It would allow the bar to be rezoned as a bar and the next-door building to be zoned separately for a coffee house.

The vote was set for Thursday, but Spencer Thomson, attorney for The Point, received a request for the postponement to allow more time for Redman to muster support.

Thomson argues that Redman, who took over The Point about five years ago, has changed the closing hours from 3 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. and has made physical improvements to the building and landscaping. He said Redman has worked with adjacent businesses to permit overflow nighttime parking on their lots to keep patrons from using bank property or street parking. And he says the homicide incident didn’t arise from The Point.

Patricia Jensen, attorney for Country Club Bank, has disagreed that The Point’s improvements are enough. The bank, she said in public testimony, would prefer The Point to be a restaurant rather than a late-night bar that causes nighttime problems.

Thomson said Redman doesn’t want to operate a restaurant; The Point wants to remain a bar with limited food service.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford

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