With NFL Super Bowl LIV but one week away in Miami, and Kansas City PR representatives sending some interesting factoids about their great city, this post on “Kansas City then and now” is certainly timely.
For example, did you know that Kansas City is a vibrant metro in the heart of the U.S., known as “KC Heartland” and is home to 2.5 million people? Did you know that Kansas City is a center for technology, entrepreneurship and artistry? Or did you know that Kansas City’s headquartered companies include Hallmark, Garmin, Cerner, Sprint and H&R Block? I sure didn’t.
After all, it was 50 years ago that the Lamar Hunt-owned and Hank Stram-coached Kansas City Chiefs last appeared in a Super Bowl Game, let alone won one, so just how much has Kansas City, Missouri changed over that time? Its a fair bet all you know about is Arrowhead Stadium.
Well, there’s more to Kansas City.
Here are the five biggest transformations in Kansas City:
Kansas City has always been a drinking town, but in the last fifty years, Kansas City has morphed into one of the fastest-growing craft beverage destinations in the county. With over 35 breweries in the region, from Boulevard Brewing Co. to Brewery Emperial to Cinder Block Brewery, KC has tapped into the growing audience thirsty for fresh, local beer. Last year also marked the opening of the new J. Rieger & Co. distillery and spirits destination in Kansas City’s historic Electric Park neighborhood, which was just named one of the country’s Best New Attractions by USA Today.
With $6.7 billion spent on recent development and $1.6 billion under construction, downtown Kansas City (a virtual ghost town outside work hours in 1970) has become a thriving, 24-hour cultural hub, complete with a free streetcar. With over 120,000 employees and nearly 30,000 residents living in renovated historic buildings and glitzy new condo towers (some occupied by Chiefs players), this Heartland city now boasts an array of entertainment and dining options, including the Crossroad Arts District, the Sprint Center and the Power and Light District. Downtown Kansas City is home to restaurants with dozens of James Beard-recognized chefs, including Michael Smith, Michael Corvino, Celina Tio, and Howard Hanna.
Mecca for makers and entrepreneurs:
With entrepreneurial support assets including the Kauffman Foundation, KC ranks first in the nation for its startup growth rate,
according to Inc. magazine. Kansas City’s maker movement is capitalizing on KC’s pride, with companies including Charlie Hustle (creator of the popular KC heart t-shirts) taking off. With exclusive licensing deals with athletes like Patrick Mahomes, Charlie Hustle continues to grow and scale – making the Inc. 5000 list multiple years running.
Airport of the future :
During Super Bowl IV, a new airport was being built north of the existing airport in downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The world of air travel has changed since the 70’s and now, fifty years later, work is underway on a brand-new $1.5B new terminal at Kansas City International Airport. Fit for
the modern traveler, the new single-terminal will debut in early 2023 and will feature 39 gates, updated amenities and new dining options. The airport will also feature airfield views (so fans can watch the Chiefs come home after an away game), live music by local musicians and art installations.
In 1970, the KC Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium was being constructed alongside the Royals’ Kauffman Stadium; this side-by-side baseball and football stadium concept was the first of its kind. A $375 million renovation project Arrowhead was completed in 2010, preserving and modernizing its revered seating bowl and adding 500,000 square feet of space for fan amenities and comfort. Two high-definition video displays were retrofitted into
the existing football-shaped displays in both end zones. Fun fact: the energy of Chiefs fans helped Arrowhead Stadium set the Guinness World Record for the ‘Loudest Outdoor Stadium,’ reaching 142.2 decibels during a New England Patriots game on Sept. 29, 2014.
It’s true that a lot has changed since the Kansas City Chiefs were last in the Super Bowl, but it’s safe to say that its famed BBQ, jazz, fountains and the metro’s low cost of living (Hear that, Oakland and San Francisco?) aren’t going anywhere. For more information, visit KC.org.
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