Leaders think it’s the best time in KC’s history: here’s why

On top of upcoming city-changing events, business and development leaders pointed to these signs.

Photo of the summit event graphic

Business and development leaders gathered to discuss KC’s trajectory.

Photo by KCtoday

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“This is absolutely the best time in the history of Kansas City. We’re living it. We’re part of it right now.”

That’s a quote from KCADC president and CEO Tim Cowden during the KC Market Forecast Summit, hosted by MetroWire Media. Tim moderated the panel, expressing excitement over several upcoming, city-changing projects + events.

Aside from events like the NFL Daft and the World Cup, here are three major takeaways from the panel, featuring local development and business leaders.

1. KC’s workforce is growing

As of December 2022, the Kansas City region had a 2.7% unemployment rate. That’s less than the national average of 3.4%. A big part of KC’s success comes from logistics and distribution jobs.

“The wages have increased dramatically,” Port KC CEO Jon Stephens said of distribution jobs. “We’re at the literal crossroads of transportation and access to the entire North American market.”

John noted that Port KC is also working with the Full Employment Council to deploy $2 million toward workforce development.

Photo of summit panel

MetroWire Media editor Lisa Shackelford introduces her panel.

Photo by KCtoday

2. Transit infrastructure helping residents and tourists

Monica Enloe, with Clemons Real Estate, said the KC Streetcar extensions are spurring accessibility and development in Midtown and beyond.

“It also allows tourists to experience the sprawling geography Kansas City has to offer without ever having to rent a car,” Monica said.

Meanwhile, Erik Wullshleger of 3D Development mentioned the proposed Greenline as a form of multi-use transit.

Other recent investments include the new KCI terminal and KCMO’s new on-demand transit.

3. KC is winning at regionalism

Leaders said there’s power in metro-wide synergy — leaning into each neighborhood’s strengths ultimately helps the whole region. It’s the same idea as the downtown KCMO 2030 plan, but on a bigger scale.

One example given was KC Current’s facilities. The team built a training center in Riverside, but its stadium will be at Berkley Riverfront. Additionally, leaders said suburban cores are replicating urban downtowns — think: downtown OP. These investments provide more opportunities for businesses and residents.

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