George Koppe's Commentary

Posted January 17, 2013 (user submitted)

Antioch Center was/is located in Kansas City, MO, not North Kansas City as it states in the 2008 article on your website. North Kansas City is a separate municipality located several miles to the south.

Antioch Center was started in the mid-1950s as an outdoor shopping center with three anchor stores, Thriftway and Kroger's supermarkets and W.T. Grant's variety store. There was also a Crown Drugs and a Steve's Shoes. My brothers and I were partial to Joe Falk's Toys, the first toy store I ever remember going into. It later moved across Antioch Road into a small strip center with a tire store.

Over the years Antioch kept expanding southward and in the early 1960s when they decided to add a department store they had residents in the Kansas City, North, area vote on which store we wanted; Macy's, Jones Store Co. or Emery Bird Thayer. My parents voted for Macy's and that's who ended up in the center. In the late 1960s another wing was added to the north and a Kline's junior department store and a one-story Sears store with an underground parking garage were added.

Antioch waited far too long to enclose its mall and by the time it did, the newer Metro North Mall had eclipsed it. Macy's eventually closed and was replaced by Burlington Coat Factory. Sears actually expanded about a decade or so ago but the mall died a slow death.

Plans in the mid-2000s for a redevelopment of the mall into a mixed-use retail and residential development failed, both because of the economy and the refusal of Sears to relocate its store. In the summer of 2012 much of the mall was razed and just recently the last section of the mall between Sears and Burlington Coat Factory came down after the lease with Catherine's clothing store finally ended. Plans call for a seniors housing complex to be built on the mall site, with Sears and Burlington Coat Factory to remain. Still standing on pads are a Sears automotive center and a Bank of America ATM facility. There are five buildings along Vivion Road that seem to be part of the center but are actually separate: a Goodyear Tire store, a Walgreen's, a vacant Shell convenience store, a vacant Blockbuster Video building and a two-story Bank of America branch.

James Fowler's Commentary

Posted February 13, 2008 (user submitted)

This was the first shopping center North of the River in Kansas City, Mo. First developed as outdoor mall in the 1950's. Woolworth's on one end, Macy's on the other. I went there with my parents for school clothes and such through the 60's.

Sometime after I left Kansas City in the 1970's, Antioch expanded and became "enclosed". Sears set up a large operation and Antioch doubled in size. Upon returning to KC in 2007, Antioch is a barren wasteland with only the Sears store (and the tell-tale kiss-of-death, Burlington Coat Factory) still in operation.

There is absolutely no reason to put any energy into rebuilding this operation as a traditional mall. The 120 acres of parking lot form a blighted solar furnace in the summertime.

Best use for this property - dig down twenty feet and build all underground parking. Then build a deck on top to use as a pad for several low-rise apartment/townhouse/condo clusters and several smaller footprint local shopping clusters, medical clinics and professional offices. The location is perfect for empty nesters looking for a walking community as well as new families looking for a neighborhood to start their families. Biggest store should be a grocery store. Connect all these clusters with sidewalks surrounded by lawns, tree planters and flower boxes. Everything visible should look like a "car-free" village. Business could survive on the resident population. Should be able to get 500-700 housing units. All commercial deliveries and car traffic would be underground - you could drive right up to the entrance of the particular cluster you wanted via underground. That would end the hideous rainwater run-off problem that destroys local creeks and end the ridiculous expense of snowplowing in the winter. There would be enough surface area to install large scale geothermal heating/cooling system plus solar-panel roofs throughout. Affordable housing and the chance for a real neighborhood rather than the failed "single-use" development pattern that Malls themselves represent.

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