New Pre School Opens September 2015 in Brookside/Waldo Area

Brookside/Waldo families now have another preschool option: Rhyme&Reason Preschool of the Arts at 7100 Main St, inside the New Reform Temple, opens this month! (Note: the school is renting space, there is no religious affiliation).   This is a wonderful addition to our neighborhood, and the two sisters operating the school are so very excited to show off their new space to prospective children, their parents, and the community.

Rhyme&Reason has a unique focus as well–their mission is to ‘encourage, inspire and guide every child through a school based on community, experience and learning through the arts”. All types of art will be introduced to kids at the school, and incorporated into their everyday activities.

Ashley Held and Brittany Margolies

Ashley Held and Brittany Margolies

The twin sisters in charge, Ashley Held and Brittany Margolies, have worked in preschools for the past ten years. Both have a BFA in Visual Arts and Design from KU, and Brittany earned her master’s degree in education from UMKC. Ashley and Brittany believe they are offering a ‘fresh take on preschool’ , combining their passion for art, design and children. They were inspired by another pre-school focusing on the arts: Sweet Pea Cottage in Seattle.

Rhyme&Reason classroom

Rhyme&Reason classroom

When I met with Ashley and Brittany, they explained what makes the school different: the classrooms are mixed ages (from 2-5, no potty training required) and every week there is a different ‘theme’ to focus on . For example, one theme could be the human body. Teachers and students would discuss the body in circle time; a nurse would be brought in as a guest speaker; the kids would examine different medical equipment and how it’s used, etc. In addition, each month the school will feature a different artist and incorporate him or her in various activities. If Rauschenberg was the featured artist, various types of collage work would be incorporated into activities during the month.

rhyme classroom blueRhyme&Reason offers two light-filled classrooms featuring games, puzzles, a sensory table, pretend play area and various toys and books. There is a garden to explore just outside the front door. It is a nut-free campus and the school provides a daily snack; students bring a sack lunch. There is also video surveillance and secured entry to the building. The school year runs from September through May, and for this Fall, offers a morning session only from 8:30-12:30. They hope to add an afternoon session in February.   Rhyme&Reason is community focused: they will teach the kids about volunteering, and want to bring in community leaders like a local chef to help the young ones with cooking classes (there is a  full kitchen) or a high school teacher to help with science experiments. Volunteers are welcome here!

If you, or someone you know, is searching for a pre-school in the Brookside/Waldo area, check out Rhyme&Reason Preschool of the Arts. You can reach Ashley or Brittany at

Rising Home Prices in Armour Hills (Brookside)-July 2015 Stats

PrintHomebuyers continue to see our Armour Hills subdivision as a desirable place to purchase a house.  Of course they do!  We have a lovely park in the middle of our neighborhood; residents can walk to Brookside/Waldo shops; public transportation is easily accessible and the Trolley Track Trail borders the west side of our area.  Here are the July 2015 home sales stats for Armour Hills in Brookside, Kansas City MO.  It’s all good news for buyers and sellers!

In July 2015, twelve homes sold with a median list price and sales price of $269,000 with 40 days on market.     

In July 2014, seven homes sold with a median list price of $269,250; a median sales price of $259,143 and 78 days on the market.  

Notice the median list price and sales price was the same for July 2015–that’s because we had seven homes–more than half–sell for list price or a little above list price! Buyers don’t have much negotiating power in their offers when inventory is so low and homes are updated and priced at market value.  The lowest sales price last month was $212,500 and the highest was $425,000..

Checking year-to-date figures:

From January through July 2015, 57 homes have sold with a median list and sales price of $265,000 and 32 days on market.

From January through July 2014, 41 homes sold with a median list and  sales price of $239,950 and 33 days on market.   

Home values are up 10% year to date, and more properties are selling. Welcome new neighbors!

Currently there are 10 homes for sales in Armour Hills; the lowest list price is $208,900 and the highest is $400,000 with 15 days on market. Median list price is $249,000.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed)

Brookside Home Sales Report – July 2015

Well Brookside neighbors it continues to be a sizzlin’ hot summer for home sales in our neighborhood!  Home values are appreciating, and demand is strong.  Let’s check single family home sales for July 2015 in the Brookside zip code of 64113:

In July 2015, 42 homes sold.  The median list price was $325,000 and the median sales price was $319,500.  Average days on market: 34.

In July 2014, 32 homes sold.  The median list price was $329,000 and the median sales price was $323,500.  Average days on  market: 27.

The lowest sale price last month was $160,000 and the highest was $900K. Although median price was a little less than a year ago, more homes sold this year in about the same amount of time.     

Checking year to date figures:

From January through July 2015, 216 homes sold with a median list price of $325,000 and median sales price of $320,000 and 39 days on market.  

From January through July 2014, 162 homes sold. The median list price was $314,000 and median sales price was $302,500 and 32 days on market.

So far Brookside home values are up 5.7% compared to last year, plus a 33% increase in the number of homes sold!

Currently there are 61 single family homes for sale in the Brookside zip code of 64113, with a median list price of $515,000 and 92 days on market.  The lowest listing is priced at $208,900 and the highest is just under $4 million. Half the homes are priced over $500,000, with 11 of those listed at over $1,000,000.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS and deemed reliable but not guaranteed).

Kansas City Local Week – August 17-23, 2015

kc local weekToday kicks off the second annual KC Local Week, a celebration of all things locally based and created in our metro area. Because this is a simple grass roots effort to promote the event, you won’t see a media blitz of advertising about it. However, it’s a wonderful idea, brought about by a  KC resident. It’s very simple to participate, and the more support it generates,  the more word spreads about all of the excellent, locally based entrepueners bringing goods and services to the KC marketplace.

kc local foundersKC Local Week was started by Karie Farenholz. A couple of years ago, she came across a news story about a group in Austrailia that was hosting a challenge: for one week, try to consume/buy/support locally based events and foods from within a 100 mile radius.  She and her Dane Johnson husband did it –and both were surprised at just how many people in our area are doing their own local thing. They found larger companies, such as The Roasterie, to support as well as smaller businesses with a web presence only. For example, did you know there was a food truck that sells locally made dog treats?? Last year, Karie launced the first KC Local Week, picking August as the best month due to the bounty of foods available at local farmers’ markets. This year there are several more events the public can participate in, as well as just supporting local businesses with a quick drop in to make a purchase of locally made candy or check out a class at a locally owned yoga studio.

Karie has used her own money to get this event off and running—she commissioned the website and does promotion herself. Eventually, she would like to have some sponsorship money to print flyers, create t-shirts to sell, and improve the website with a more data-based focus. Any financial ‘profit’ after expenses would be given to a local charity.

So how can you participate in KC Local Week? Visit their website for full details. It displays a very extensive list of local vendors from the metro area.  Plus, there are some great events planned for the week: wear your favorite teeshirt from a local business or festival on Tuesday; try a new place to eat on Bucket List Thursday; listen to local, live music on Saturday at the Spirit of KC Fest at the Crossroads. Many Brookside/Waldo businesses are participating in this celebration of all things local, so when you stop in a shop—be sure to tell them you are also supporting this event. A partial list of Brookside/Waldo vendors include: McGonigles, Garza’s Goodies, District Pour House+Kitchen, The Roasterie, Classic Cookie, Bella Napoli, Heirloom Bakery, Carmen’s Café, Waldo’s Farmers’ Market, Waldo Pizza, Season+Square and many, many more.

KC Local Week-August 17-23, 2015: support local businesses, it’s what gives our city it’s own personal flavor and character!

Brookside Soon to Have Two ‘Spice’ Shops – Season+Square Expanding Its Focus

Hello Brookside neighbors! You’ve probably noticed we are getting a national, corporate spice shop at 6245 Brookside Blvd (site of a former Hallmark Gold Crown store) called Savory Spice Shop. The store expects to open sometime this month.

When I heard about this new place, I immediately thought “Brookside already has a spice shop” – do we need two of them? Because the Brookside shops on the north side of 63rd from Wornall to Main were recently sold to First Washington Realty out of Maryland, we may  see more national brand stores moving in and fewer local store operators in the future.  Still, we Brookside residents love to ‘shop local’ – that’s what makes our area so special – and our locally owned Season+Square shop will now face competition from a 34 chain store operation a few blocks away.

Andrea Joseph, Owner of Season+Square

Andrea Joseph, Owner of Season+Square

Last week I stopped by to chat with Andrea Joseph, owner of Season+Square at 6205 Oak.   Andrea’s shop, opened in February 2014,  is successful, catering to casual home cooks and professional chefs from around the metro. Customer service and product knowledge, so extremely important in any store, is outstanding here. Gradually, Andrea has been transitioning to more of a ‘lifestyle’ shop, offering much more than spices and assorted food products. Besides the huge selection of spices and salts here, you’ll find unique cocktail products (bitters, syrups, mixers); plus oils, vinegars, teas, jellies, cookie mix, exclusive laundry products, soy candles, organic bath products, napkins,cookbooks, fresh Ibis bread (on Saturdays), specialty chocolate and candies. Soon the shop will also sell locally made jewelry and art.  Andrea focuses on working with vendors that give back to their communities in some way, and she knows the story behind every product sold in the shop.

Food sample from Plate-served during their fundraiser.

Food sample from Plate-served during their fundraiser.

Another exciting development here is “Plate”—the modern Italian restaurant she is opening next to her store. Focusing on local, fresh food and ingredients, Plate has hired an experienced Kansas City chef, and local architect HIVE is designing the interior. There will be a full bar, seating for 60 and happy hour Tuesdays-Saturdays from 3-6pm. The goal is to open by the end of the year.

Changes are always happening in Brookside and Waldo; shops and restaurants come and go. There surely is enough business for everyone, as customers visit various establishments and experience the differences between them.  What are the differences between the new corporate spice store and locally owned Season+Square?  Visit both and find out for yourself!

Waldo Home Prices Continue To Rise in 2015

Wonderful Waldo continues to be a hot location for buyers this year!  There are so many different types of housing here:  everything from charming, spacious two-story homes with welcoming front porches to smaller, two bedroom ranch style homes.  I am reporting on single family home sales stats for the area of State Line to Holmes, and Gregory to 85th:

In June 2015, 50 homes sold with a median list price of $160,000 and a median sales price of $162,300 and 33 days on market.  The lowest closed sales price was $36,500 and the highest was $495,000.

In June 2014, 26 homes sold with a median list price of $139,900 and a median sales price of $140,000 with 46 days on  market.  

The reasons for the higher final sales price compared to the list price could be:  a buyer financed their closing costs into the loan or there were multiple offers on some homes, pushing up the price. The $495K home that closed, on the 7400 block of Summit, was the highest sale so far this year in Waldo.

Checking year to date figures:

From January through June 2015, 176 homes have sold with a median sales price of $158,500.

From January through June  2014, 157 homes had sold with a median sales price of $140,000.

Median sales prices are up for the year, along with fewer days on market in Wonderful Waldo!  Currently there are 54 active listings in Waldo, with a median list price of $125,000 and  31 days on market. The lowest price house is $54,000; the highest is $315,000.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed)

Brookside East – New Businesses Coming East of Oak on 63rd St

The old saying in real estate is true: what matters is location, location, location. It’s the first question I ask potential buyer client. And what drives commercial real estate prices in a certain location? It’s the condition of the properties; the convenient, sought after area;  the nearby residents who will support the local businesses; the street atmosphere, landscaping, and walk score.

Butch Rigby

Butch Rigby

Thanks to local real estate tycoon Butch Rigby and a handful of other local investors, “Brookside East” is on the brink of becoming a sought after destination for new businesses..and in turn will should home values nearby. We already have a solid core of  shops at 63rd and Oak; Butch and his pals have purchased several buildings to the east of that intersection. The Brookside Gardens Event Center (in the former Alanz Theater at 624 E 63rd St) will open in the fall. I think this may be the only commercial event space in Brookside that will seat 250 people. Construction workers are busy inside, completely renovating the interior to include a prep kitchen for caterers,  dance floor, an outdoor patio, bathrooms and a second floor ‘bridal suite’ for wedding parties to gather before the reception. Butch is working with a specialty architect to restore the front of the building to the way he believes it looked when built. Heritage Events will be the operator of this space; and various special events and weddings are already scheduled for later this year.

Home of the KC Juice Company

Home of the KC Juice Company

Directly east of Brookside Gardens will be the Kansas City Juice Company (634 E 63rd St) , operated by Robin Krause and partner Amy Bartosik (formerly of The Filling Station). Robin plans to open in September. She will offer 90% organic and local products, featuring salads, sandwiches, cold pressed juices, protein treats, coffee and juice cleanses. There will be six inside tables in this unique, A-frame building plus a drive through outside! And next to the juice spot will be 63Brookside apartments–a three story, 23 unit building scheduled to open next year.

Across the street at the southwest corner of Holmes and 63rd, Butch is renting space to: Can I Have A Bite?, moving to Brookside from a Waldo location on Wornall; plus Golden & Pine, a home goods store, and he’s working on leasing to a wellness center. Butch is very conscious of the tenants he wants as a landlord–he explained he has ‘turned down so many businesses that would not fit and would not be the right use in this area. We want a solid, vibrant, healthy corridor of businesses as the block spreads east to Troost”. He also is renovating an office building on the south side of 63rd east of Oak.

All of this new development is very exciting for the Brookside area..and it’s especially fortunate the owners are local business people who know our neighborhood rather than outside developers. With successful new commercial and retail space blossoming along this long ignored corridor, you should see home values pulled up as well. As the months go along, I’ll blog about the individual new shops and spaces as they open to the public. Brookside East…a welcome improvement to the neighborhood!

brookside gardens