Plaza Nordstrom Resumes Work Next Summer, Completion Fall 2022

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City planners described the new Nordstrom design as transparent and pedestrian-friendly. (Image from Nordstrom planning department application.)

By Kevin Collison

Construction is expected to resume next summer on the Nordstrom store planned for the Country Club Plaza with an opening anticipated in Fall 2022, a year later than originally scheduled.

“Due to Covid, things have gotten pushed back,” said Roxsen Koch, local attorney for Taubman, owner of the Country Club Plaza.

“The great news is their plan is to open in Fall 2022.”

In a statement via email, a Nordstrom spokeswoman confirmed the delay.

“Our opening is now scheduled for the Fall 2022,” Karin Muskopf said. “We’re looking forward to serving customers in this location in the future.

Work began last September on the 122,000 square-foot store which is replacing Nordstrom’s current operation at the Oak Park Mall in Overland Park.

A half-block of buildings along the west edge of Jefferson Street next to the Unity Temple at the Plaza were demolished including the Capital Grille, a Bank of America branch and several Cinemark Palace auditoriums on the second level.

The Capital Grille relocated to another Plaza location at 4760 Broadway. The Cinemark closed permanently.

The Nordstrom construction site just south of Unity Temple has been quiet since the reconstruction of Jefferson Street was completed about a month ago.

The Nordstrom project also included rebuilding and reorienting Jefferson Street to make it more pedestrian friendly. That project was completed about a month ago.

Koch said the public works aspects of the redevelopment plan, except for landscaping, have essentially been completed.

The construction site of the actual store has been quiet for several weeks and that should continue until this winter, Koch said.

“I expect things will be fairly dormant until January, then there will be more site work,” she said. “You’ll probably see actual building construction begin to happen in July.”

The suspension of work at the site had raised concerns by some observers the project might be in jeopardy.

The bricks-and-mortar U.S. retail industry, particularly department stores, had been struggling before Covid hit and the pandemic only aggravated the situation.

Lord & Taylor, the nation’s oldest department store, filed for bankruptcy earlier this month and announced plans to liquidate 19 of its 38 stores, according to published reports. Macy’s and Nieman Marcus also have been weakened.

But in an article last April reviewing the department store landscape, The New York Times described Nordstrom as “widely considered to be the healthiest department store.”

The planned new Nordstrom will face the t-intersection of Jefferson and Nichols Road. The two-story store will have a much more contemporary look than the Spanish-style architecture of the Plaza.

The planned new Nordstrom will face the intersection of Jefferson and Nichols Road. (Image from Nordstrom planning department application.)

The design was supported however, by Historic Kansas City and Friends of the Plaza.

In a letter to the city, the organizations said the new store was necessary to assure the future prosperity of the historic shopping district which opened in 1923 and is now approaching its 100th anniversary.

“Historic Kansas City and Friends of the Plaza recognize the need for the Plaza to evolve and adapt to a changing set of retail and economic circumstances,” the groups wrote in a joint letter.

“Overall, Historic Kansas City and Friends of the Plaza see this draft proposal as a reasonable solution, its design and placement accommodating the needs of contemporary retail function and design…

“…but in a manner that is compatible with the design, scale and form of the Plaza, and one that could bring new life to that block of the Plaza with the Nordstrom’s as a long-term tenant, and needed people and street activity in the area.”

The design also was endorsed by city planners and the City Plan Commission.

Koch said the partial demolition of the parking garage behind the planned Nordstrom has been completed and except for the rooftop, parking will remain available to the public once construction resumes on the store.

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