Until everyone got a gander at the architectural renderings. There was almost a universal WTF reaction to the eight story glass and metal structure. Both the law firm, and the owner/developer of the plaza, North Carolina's Highwoods Properties, have heard an earful from frustrated and upset citizens about the design and plan.
The Plaza is constructed with a Spanish architectural theme, reminiscent of Seville and the proposed building does not even make a modern bow in the direction of that theme. Furthermore, it is out of scale for the area that it sits in, down the hill, towards Brush Creek and 47th Street/Cleaver II Boulevard, where most of the buildings are 2-3 stories tall.
The Plaza, despite the age of many of its buildings, is not on the historical registry. The restrictions of the registry on the kind of alterations that retail sometimes demands is something that didn't work for the Plaza in the past. There are zoning and development restrictions on the height of buildings in certain places on the Plaza.
While Polsinelli can build any zoning compliant building they would like, they need to reconsider this design, which now they are saying was highly preliminary and released prematurely (sounds like excuse making to me, but never mind) and create a design that is more compatible with the look and feel of the Plaza as a whole. If they can't do that, then they should consider a site north of the Plaza, rescue the lost West End project, or consider down town or the Crossroads districts of Kansas City. I suppose if they are feeling especially spiteful after the outcry over this design they can decide to move to Johnson County, Kansas, but if they are really the civic citizens they are trying to make themselves out to be, they will be willing to compromise on either design or location and remain in Kansas City, MO. I, for one, would applaud them for that compromise.
Right now, both Polsinelli and Highwoods look arrogant and greedy, all about making a show and making the benjamins. The ball is in their court now.
The Kansas City Star Irate Plaza fans object to law office building plan. The illustration and photo are from The Star.
Of course, there is a Facebook page, Save the Plaza