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Check out Kansas City’s Amazing Transformation in 10 Then-and-Now Photos

Kansas City

In 1867, the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad was deciding between Leavenworth and Kansas City as to where to build the first bridge across the Missouri River. The railroad chose Kansas City and the “Crossroads of the Country” hasn’t stopped growing since.

They say Kansas City has more fountains than any city in the world outside of Rome, Italy. That may or may not be true but we have turned on the spigots to Google Street View to see the newest buildings those fountains are illuminating on the streets of Missouri’s largest city.

Simply drag the arrow bar back-and-forth to view the old and the new images.

1. Hotel Sorella Country Club Plaza, Plaza Vista – Plaza Area

Year built: 2013

Tucked into Country Club Plaza, one of the Midwest’s premier shopping and dining destinations, the seven-story Sorella hotel mimics the Spanish-flavored elegance of its location. Guests enjoy mini-bars and flat screen televisions in the 132 rooms after an evening lounging by the fire pits and cabanas on the expansive pool terrace. Right nearby, the Plaza Vista complex at 900 West 48th Place spans 10 floors, featuring 235,000 square feet of premier office space. It includes an integrated 940-space parking structure.

Eight years in the making, the HQs of the 41-year old Polsinelli law firm was designed by 360 architecture and built by VanTrust Real Estate, now housing the law firm’s 450 employees. A wooden seven-story cantilevered stairwell snaking through the center of the building sets the tone for this contemporary addition to the Kansas City streetscape.

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2. JE Dunn Construction Company Corporate Headquarters – Downtown

Year built: 2009

JE Dunn provided a model for 21st century construction practices with its own headquarters at 1001 Locust Street. Only materials extracted, processed, and manufactured within 500 miles of Kansas City were used to fabricate the sleek glass-faced office building. Over 95 percent of construction waste was recycled and inside no employee works more than 22.5 feet from natural light.

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3. 46 Penn Apartments – Old Westport / Southmoreland

Year built: 2015

Residents of 46 Penn Apartments at 46th Street and Pennsylvania Street enjoy unprecedented pedestrian access to Country Club Plaza, developed as one of America’s first open-air shopping centers in 1922. The upscale 46 Penn resonates with big-city amenities: secured parking, full-time concierge service, clubhouse facilities, and a salt water swimming pool in one of two outdoor entertainment areas.

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4. Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute – Old Westport / Southmoreland

Year built: 2011

Shortly after opening its new facility in 2011, the Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute performed its 500th heart transplant, joining only 26 other American hospitals to have completed that many procedures. The seven-story brick-and-stone building includes nearly 400,000 square feet for clinical research, training, and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

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5. Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts – Crossroads

Year built: 2011

Designed by renowned architect Moshe Safdie, The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts made quite a splash when it opened back in 2011, with its unique modernistic architecture and dramatic acoustical design. The centerpiece for downtown Kansas City development is now the permanent home of the Kansas City Ballet, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and the Kansas City Symphony.

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6. Global Prairie – Crossroads

Year built: 2011

After launching its marketing business in 2008, Global Prairie executed a move to the historic Vitagraph Building three years later, which received a $24 million makeover to welcome its new tenants. Part of what is known as Old Film Row, the four-story building at 1703 Wyandotte Street was constructed in 1930 to house and distribute movies for Warner Brothers.

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7. Value Place – Cunningham Ridge

Year built: 2014

The nation’s largest extended-stay hotel brand has found a niche in Kansas City – this four-story, 124-room hotel at 8805 Leeds Road is the chain’s third location in the City of Fountains. Guests can take advantage of the quick access to Interstate 70 and enjoy the close proximity to Arrowhead Stadium, home to the Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) and Kauffman Stadium, home to the Kansas City Royals baseball team.

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8. Market Station – River Market

Year built: 2010

This slice of downtown looks nothing like it did in 1871 when the railroad arrived here in Kansas City and the first stockyards were constructed. The brick and stone facade of Market Station at 240 West 2nd Street echoes the buildings of that bygone era but inside there are 323 units outfitted with island kitchens, private patios, spas, and lounges.

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9. One Light Luxury Apartments – Power and Light District

Year built: 2015

The Power & Light District on the south side of downtown comprises nine blocks of high voltage shopping, dining, and entertainment that began developing in 2005. The district takes its name from the landmark Art Deco-styled Kansas City Power and Light skyscraper and now boasts more than 50 individual venues, highlighted by live music at Kansas City Live! A more than welcome addition to the area is One Light Luxury Apartments, the first building of its kind in downtown Kansas City and the second largest apartment building to have been completed in the Kansas City metro last year. When the Google Street photo was taken in 2015, the 25-story complex was still under construction but it is now complete. It offers 311 apartments with high-end finishes and fixtures, including floor-to-ceiling windows, stainless steel appliances, wood floors, quartz countertops, washer/dryers, and free 5MB Google Fiber Internet.

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10. Oak Place Apartments – South Plaza

Year built: 2008

These twin four-story apartment buildings at 5050 Oak Street housing students of the University of Missouri at Kansas City rose from the rubble of the wrecking balled Twin Oaks Apartments. More than 500 students luxuriate in fully furnished units with lockable one-person bedrooms. The fully equipped fitness center – with flat screen televisions – is open 24/7.

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For more than a century Kansas City spent time growing up in the shadow of cross-state rival St. Louis. In the 21st century Kansas City has overtaken St. Louis and continues to grow as new construction fills the historic downtown streets and the surrounding neighborhoods. Do you have an example of a favorite new Kansas City building? Let us know!

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About the author

Ama Otet

Ama Otet is an online content developer and creative writer for RENTCafé. She loves all things real estate and strives to live beautifully, one green step at a time. You can connect with Ama on Twitter or via email.

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