What Brookside Can Teach Highwoods and Polsinelli

Do you hear the uproar?  The owner of the Country Club Plaza, Highwoods Properties (based in North Carolina) has proposed a generic, sterile looking new office building for the  Polsinelli law firm at the northeast corner of 47th and Broadway.  The new building would require demolishing an original 1920s building and the Neptune apartments.  KC area residents and Plaza lovers worldwide are loudly voicing their objection over replacing a classic, Spanish themed, original Plaza building with a large,  unsightly box that doesn’t fit the surrounding architecture.

I’m in agreement with the purists:  what attracts businesses, retail and homebuyers to the Plaza area is its original, unique, preserved architecture and it’s sense of place.  There are already a few building mistakes in the retail area of the Plaza, #1 being the Saks store box of a building.  We don’t need another one.  Frankly I’m shocked and disappointed that Highwoods would propose such an unsightly piece of work on their property.  They do a great job of maintaining the Plaza atmosphere with other retail establishments, hotels, landscaping and restaurants.  Why erect something that looks like it belongs in Corporate Woods?  Don’t they realize the original architecture is one of the  main reasons businesses want to be on the Plaza?  Isn’t that one of the main reasons they bought the complex??                                                                                                                   

Highwoods and Polsinelli should take a good look at local Brookside homeowners who have built  new homes while blending in with the older, surrounding homes on the same block.  Just like Polsinelli, Brookside homeowners want to be here for…the location, the walkability, the nearby  amenities,  and historic, well crafted homes.  There have been a few teardowns in Brookside where, thanks to the new owners, a new home has been erected that compliments its’ surroundings in every way. I’ve seen some monstrous homes built in Leawood/Prairie Village  on empty lots (particularly on the 8100 block of High Drive and the 4000 block of Prairie Lane) that ruin the line of sight for all the neighbors. They stick out like a lone pimple on the forehead.  I can’t help but think it’s ego and selfishness that demanded those designs.

Pictured in this blog are three ‘new’ homes built in Brookside that complement the historic nature of the area in addition to  the homes on the blocks where they were built.  Oh to have the amenities of a brand new home in Bside  but in a classic looking exterior!  Highwoods and Polsinelli can do the same….if their egos and wallets  are notched down a bit  for the greater good of Kansas City’s top architectural masterpiece.

  Thanks for reading my blog.  You can reach me at mary.hutchison@prukc.com or maryhutchison.org

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