Downtown Council to Honor 5 Businesses

Photos from our March 14th reception.

Kansas City Ballet, March honoree.

Brightergy, March honoree.

The Downtown Council (DTC) and its business retention committee, will honor five businesses for their commitment to Downtown Kansas City at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 28 at the new Lyric Opera headquarters.

The popular Quarterly Business Retention Receptions have gained even greater significance over the last two years, as the Downtown Council increases its emphasis on business retention and attraction

All DTC members are invited and encouraged to attend the summer cocktail reception at 5:30 p.m. at the Lyric Opera, 712 E. 18th Street. The receptions are free to DTC members.

The five summer honorees include:

The Lyric Opera
Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC)
Hanna Rubber
Mission Peak
New Horizons

If you are unable to attend the reception, please send another representative in your place.

RSVP to Julie Shippy at or 816.421.1539.


Saveur and Today Show Agree: KC’s Food Scene is On the Rise

Saveur and Today Show Agree: KC’s Food Scene is On the Rise
Kansas City as a top culinary destination for 2012

Kansas City made a national splash on NBC’s Today show on Thursday for the second time in three months. Saveur, one of the nation’s top culinary magazines, announced its Top Food Trends for 2012 — proclaiming Kansas City as America’s next great culinary destination for 2012.

The announcement was made by James Oseland, editor-in-chief of Saveur and a judge on Bravo’s Top Chef Masters. “We’ve long thought of Kansas City as a good barbecue town,” Oseland said, “but its high-end dining is really on the rise.”

This high-profile ranking is a result of a 2011 media visit hosted by the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association. The organization’s PR department hosted Saveur Executive Editor Todd Coleman in March and also contributed messaging for Thursday’s broadcast story.

The story specifically mentions Debbie Gold and the American Restaurant, one of more than 250 restaurants, cafes and bars in greater Downtown Kansas City.

To view the Today show story and read its blog, click here.

Praise for Kansas City continued on the Today show blog, also released on Thursday. In it, Oseland said Kansas City is “going to have its moment in 2012.”

“This Midwestern city has a deep-rooted food culture that’s been around for well over a century, one that’s now poised to reinvigorate itself and position the city as a new culinary destination. We all know about Kansas City’s reputation as a great barbecue town, but recently there’s been a fantastic wave of smart, new high-end cooking that’s been lighting a fire in the heart of America,” the story says. “Laying the foundation are chefs like Debbie Gold, Celina Tio, and Colby Garrelts, whose restaurants … are galvanizing the area’s independent and organic farmers and producers, and inspiring Kansas City’s next generation of chefs to reach for new heights.”

What a better way to celebrate this good news with a great, New Year’s out at the Downtown restaurant of your choice??

Jason Ryan Dorsey talks GenY and Millennial Entitlement

The Downtown Council will amp up its traditional Annual Luncheon format with a keynote presentation by Jason Ryan Dorsey, The Gen Y Guy and author of “Y-Size Your Business”. The Austin, Texas based speaker will offer expert insights on how Gen Y can energize and grow Downtown and your company.

Dorsey recently appeared on the CBS Morning show to discuss Gen Y and Millennials’ sense of entitlement. A new study by Cisco reveals that a large percentage of Gen Y’ers would refuse a job that did not provide them with the cell phone they wanted. Dorsey was challenged to explain this and other Gen Y views. Check out the video here!

Like what you see? Make plans to join us at our Annual Luncheon on December 9.  Visit our webpage  for more information. Or register online here!

Kansas City Ballet to Open New Home On Friday, August 26th!

Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity to Celebrates Grand Opening Aug. 22-Sept. 2

The Kansas City Ballet’s new home, the Todd Bolender Center for Dance & Creativity, will open to the public on Friday, Aug. 26 with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 9:30 a.m. at 500 Pershing Avenue.

“This may well be the most significant event in the history of our company,” said Executive Director Jeffrey J. Bentley. “Since the beginning, the need for a permanent home for the company and our highly regarded school has been an important but missing element of our strategic plan and now it is a reality for this community.”

A series of free public events is scheduled between Monday, Aug. 22 and Friday, Sept. 2 to celebrate the completion of the restoration and repurposing of this historic power house situated at the western edge of the Union Station campus. Over the past five years the structure, which had been abandoned for nearly a half century, was painstakingly transformed into 52,000 square feet of space uniquely designed to support the needs of this nationally respected dance company and its school. Amenities include: seven dance studios, a physical therapy/training room, and lockers and shower facilities for the company and 160 parking spaces adjacent to the building. It will house the administrative and artistic staff, as well as the institution’s archives.

“During my time with Todd Bolender in Kansas City, we envisioned a permanent home for the company and school,” said Artistic Director William Whitener.  “This new facility surpasses our expectations. Large open studios, natural light as well as a 180 seat studio theater will now make it possible to create, rehearse and perform in an expansive environment.”

Renovation on the building began in November 2009. The overall cost is $39 million, including a $7 million endowment restricted to support the operations and maintenance of the building itself.  The development partners include PowerHouse Properties LLC, Kansas City based architectural firm BNIM, JE Dunn Construction, Union Station and the Downtown Council.

Artists, Creators and Collaborators in Kansas City

I just returned from an inspiring panel discussion at the Leedy Voulkos Gallery – part of the America: Now and Here dialogue.  Harlan Brownlee (Arts Council of KC) moderated a panel discussion about the future of the arts in Kansas City.  Jonathan Knecht (KCADC) layed out the theme by presenting a new national branding concept “Kansas City, America’s Creative Crossroads”.   The KCADC will use this platform to promote Kansas City as authentic, innovative and inviting when it works to attract corporations and talent to relocate to our region.

The concept was well received by attendees.  The panelists offered their thoughts. Kathleen Collins (KC Art Institute) emphasized that artists need to benefit from the “Creative Crossroads” concept…this should not be a program built on the back of artists but one that leverages support for the arts and its ability to be an economic engine.

Greg Carroll (American Jazz Museum) appreciated that potential regional unification impact of the “Creative Crossroads”.  When asked about his vision for the Kansas City arts community for the next 5-10 years, Greg described a diverse arts community accessible to everyone helping to unify the community.  Cynthia Rider (KC Repertory Theater) saw a future of excellence in the arts focused in Downtown Kansas City.

Peter Witte (UMKC Conservatory) spoke about the power of the arts to create jobs and build relationships between diverse groups.  He emphasized that the world is no longer our audience, it is our community and it is a community of artists, creators and collaborators.

The panelists felt strongly that the platform: Kansas City America’s Creative Crossroads is also a marketing message that could be used internally, to the 2,000,000 residents of the metropolitan area who can support the arts and creativity in their daily life.  The meeting ended with a spontaneous call and response jazz dialogue between Greg Carroll and the audience!  Leaving me inspired and energized.

Have You Seen How We’re Celebrating Downtown Kansas City? Check It Out!

Urban chic. Creative cool. Mojo. It’s clear that Downtown Kansas City has its swagger back.

In 10 short years, Downtown has blossomed into the region’s most desirable place to live, work, dine, shop, revel in the arts and grow creative, entrepreneurial enterprises. Thousands of people are flocking to Downtown on any given day to taste a sample of what Kansas City had been lacking for a generation.

And, yet, we are reminded time and again that there are those in our Greater Kansas City community who remain unaware of the extent of Downtown’s revitalization. For many of the 2 million consumers who live, work and study in our outstanding suburbs, Downtown may be more urban myth than urban playground.

To bridge that gap, the Downtown Council has taken the lead role in marketing the Downtown experience to consumers right in our own backyard. Bottom line – we simply need more Kansas City area residents routinely shopping, dining, playing and enjoying the riches of our Downtown. It’s essential to Downtown becoming economically sustainable.

Our most recent outreach began in March with the introduction of our first two Downtown TV commercials airing on nine Time Warner Cable channels, reaching more than 400,000 homes in Greater Kansas City. The summer-long campaign is expected to generate more than 4.5 million consumer impressions, as well as guide them to learn more at and to follow us on Facebook.

To view the commercials – “Shopping and All That Jazz” and “Girls Night Out” – click here or just watch them below!



Time Warner subscribers are able to see the Downtown commercials airing in 83 different time slots each week, in addition to 70 Downtown messages that crawl on the Weather Channel. They are creating more than 400,000 impressions per week, or about $4.5 million over 11 weeks.

The commercials most often air in prime time and daytime slots on A&E, Comedy Central (Colbert Report; Daily Show), Discovery Channel (Sons of Guns, Myth Busters and many more), E! (Chelsea Lately, Sex & the City, Kourtney & Kim, etc.), Food Network (Rachael Ray, Glada, etc.), HGTV (Yard Crashers, Color Splash and more), OWN (Oprah, Dr. Phil), TBS (Conan O’Brien) and The Learning Channel (DC Cupcakes, Yes to Dress). Several different Downtown messages also appear on the Weather Channel crawl.

The early buzz generated by the commercials is very encouraging! What do you think? Visit our Facebook page today and let us know!

Downtown Council of Kansas City Committed To Human Services

Over the last two years, the Downtown Council of Kansas City (DTC) championed the private fund raising of more than $1 million to buy and build a home for reStart, a social service agency for the homeless, and the Community Kitchen, operated by Episcopal Community Services. The Downtown Community Services Center at 8th and Paseo provides case management, housing assistance, medical services and hot meals daily to more than 500 people who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness.

“Responding to hunger and homelessness in Downtown Kansas City has been a challenge,” said Sean O’Byrne, Vice President of the Downtown Council. “In response to this need, we have launched a new ‘best practices’ model of human services in our community.”

That “best practices” model has not only inspired the human services community in Kansas City, but also has drawn international attention. In 2010, the Downtown Council received a Merit Award from the International Downtown Association for its leadership and management related to the Community Kitchen and Downtown Community Services Center. In addition, the DTC recently received the Alice Warren Award for excellence in community collaboration from the Homeless Services Coalition of Greater Kansas City.

Just last week, Kansas City’s National Public Radio station, KCUR 89.3 FM, presented a story about the Downtown Council’s commitment to human services in Downtown. Click this link to read and listen to the compelling KCUR story. For the audio, simply press the “listen now” button.

‘Art Works Downtown.’ That’s our story and we’re sticking to it!

The arts and cultural fabric of Downtown Kansas City will be the focus of the Downtown Council’s Annual Luncheon on Friday, Dec. 10 in the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center.

The luncheon theme “Art Works Downtown” will feature numerous artistic elements, including:

  • A keynote address by Rocco Landesman, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts
  • Performances and exhibits by Kansas City visual and performing artists
  • The awarding of Urban Hero honors to 10 individuals who work to advance arts and culture in Downtown

Bill Dietrich, President of the Downtown Council, today announced the names of those Urban Heroes who will be honored next month. These awards recognize small businesses and individuals who are passionate about the arts and in making Downtown Kansas City a more vibrant place to live, work and play. The honorees are people and organizations that have improved the quality of life Downtown or made a positive difference in its arts and cultural communities.

“The Downtown Council is proud to honor 10 Urban Heroes whose work and lives represent how Art Works Downtown,” Dietrich said. The honorees include: Read more