Work starts on Plaza Nordstrom site — and that means parking spaces have disappeared

Construction work has started on the site of the new Nordstrom store coming to the Country Club Plaza in 2021. And that means the fight for parking spots is ramping up.

The site has a six-story garage with 1,185 spaces. But workers have now blocked off 200 spaces. Nordstrom previously said it would permanently eliminate 200 spaces in the garage but is now referring questions to the Plaza.

In a statement, Plaza officials said: “Parking spaces in the Seville Garage will be reduced during construction and as a part of the Nordstrom development. While approximately 200 spots will be eliminated, we will retain approximately 1,000 free parking spots in this garage.”

Workers also have temporarily blocked off some empty buildings on the Nordstrom site, as well as the entrance to the garage from Jefferson Street. But people can still enter the garage from 47th Street and from Summit Street.

Parking on the Plaza can be tricky, particularly on weekends when the restaurant crowd is at a peak.

“Generally, parking is always a concern on the Plaza and always has been,” said Alan Gaylin of Bread & Butter Concepts, which has two restaurants on the Plaza — Gram & Dunn and The Oliver.

“It’s a good thing that Nordstrom is coming, don’t get me wrong. I’m excited,” he said. “But restaurants take a lot of parking — multiple people meeting multiple people. We don’t need for it to be any more of a problem.”

Valets at Plaza restaurants park customers’ cars in the garage, along with Plaza employees. And some local apartment dwellers lease spaces in the garage.

The Nordstrom plan originally called for the elimination of some street parking spaces on Jefferson. But Unity Temple on the Plaza and Bo Lings Chinese Restaurant said they needed those spaces.

There are about 85 public parking spaces in the other blocks surrounding the Nordstrom site — on 47th, 48th and Summit streets. Some landlords — and their tenants — also are concerned that construction workers will fill up those spaces.

Street parking and management is handled through Kansas City’s Public Works Department, and the Plaza developer would have to get a permit to use those spaces.

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Joyce Smith has covered restaurant and retail news for The Star since 1989 under the brand Cityscape. She appreciates news tips.