The Point, a longtime Midtown tavern, has been granted a one-year reprieve to make the transition from a bar to a restaurant.
The Kansas City Council voted Thursday to approve a rezoning ordinance that requires The Point, at 44th Street and Belleview Avenue, to become a restaurant, with a higher food sales requirement. But the city’s liquor control division has agreed to give the establishment’s owner a year to make that transition, according to City Councilman Scott Taylor.
“It’s really a win-win situation,” Taylor said, noting that the one-year period will allow The Point to ramp up its food service operation while retaining its liquor license. Requiring an immediate switch from bar to restaurant threatened to put the three-decades-old tavern, with 40 employees, out of business.
The Council’s rezoning vote fixes a mistake that the city’s planning department discovered earlier this year.
Melissa Redman, who leases the property and has operated the bar for about five years, had sought city permission to open a coffee shop in the building next door. But the city’s planning department then discovered that the land certificate The Point has long operated under doesn’t allow for a bar at its location. In addition, the Midtown Plaza Area Plan, adopted in 2016, also says a bar doesn’t belong there.
The West Plaza Neighborhood Association generally supported Redman, who has changed The Point’s closing hours from 3 a.m. to a 1:30 a.m. and made improvements to the building and landscaping. But the Country Club Bank, across 44th Street from the bar, argued The Point should be a restaurant rather than a late-night bar that was causing nighttime crime, litter and nuisance problems.
Taylor said the city was striving to find a way to alleviate the bank’s concerns while keeping a long-standing business in operation. The ordinance clears up the zoning confusion and calls for a restaurant, but gives Redman time to meet the food sales threshold for a restaurant classification.
“We believe that the outcome that was reached is in the best interest of all involved including The Point, the neighbors and the broader community,” said attorney Spencer Thomson, who represented The Point in its negotiations with the city.
“The situation created by the zoning mistake that originated decades ago was quite unfortunate and caused a great deal of trouble and expense for The Point. Now the owners simply want to focus on being a great neighborhood eatery and bar where everyone can come to enjoy good food, a variety of fine wines and cocktails and tremendous local bands and entertainment.”
Regulated Industries Manager Jim Ready, who oversees the city’s liquor control operation, confirmed that he had agreed to the one-year grace period. The bank also agreed to allow time for the conversion from a tavern to a restaurant.