Happy In Bag

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

But I Like Ruby Tuesday

As a former north-of-the-river resident, I was pleased by the development of Zona Rosa. I felt that an upscale retail development in the area was long overdue.

I was wrong.

I finally got a chance to spend some leisure time at the relatively new commercial complex off I-29 yesterday. The layout is ideal, the restaurant mix is excellent, and those old Christmas decorations they recovered from downtown Kansas City are spectacular.

I intend to return to Zona Rosa in the next two weeks to enjoy its luster one last time. Unfortunately, I predict that this is the last holiday season in which the development will project a vibrant sheen. It’s clear to me that the site will be radically transformed over the next few years. Oh, there will be plenty of commercial activity at Zona Rosa for decades. But the high-end shops will soon be replaced with less glamorous offerings.

It’s telling that a baseball cap store was the busiest retailer in Zona Rosa on Monday. I predict that the expensive jewelry shop will make way for a dollar store, Ted’s Montana Grill is destined to become a Ruby Tuesday, and that tandoori chicken will soon be replaced by tire spinners.

None of this really bothers me. I’m not an Ambercrombie & Fitch guy, anyway. Investors and area boosters, however, must sense that their ambitious vision of retail luxury is destined to fail.


  • At 9:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Why is that? - Lack of traffic?? That would be too bad - the place is really cool right now - however, it looks a little like Disney World. There are going to be people living in lofts and apartments there soon and the next phase has a lot of residential - Do you think that will affect your prediction?

  • At 9:45 AM, Blogger Happy In Bag said…

    Anonymous- I'm certainly not an expert in retail development and demographic analysis. I hope my forecast is wrong. But I sense that the center's grand vision can't be sustained. And while nifty, the residential component won't be enough to stem the inevitable decay.

  • At 10:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ZR is fun to look at but you know it's artificial - Zona Rosa, the fake breasts of shopping. I can't stand trying to get in or out of that place. Plus, it's like a Kansas City Special Sales Tax Zone, especially on restaurants. Look at the check - sales tax on dinner is almost 11%. That's like a VAT but we can't get a refund at the exit.

    Forget it. I kinda think you're right, HIB - it won't be the big deal everyone hopes for.

  • At 1:16 PM, Blogger Eric Rogers said…

    I've heard it's actually very successful, bringing in a LOT of sales tax revenue. I have been there several times and it's always been very busy, so maybe you hit it at a slow time? As artifical as it is, it's really the future of suburban development.

    Keep in mind that what you see is just the first. That area is going to explode once all of the road upgrades around it are finished.

    Also, that special sales is becoming VERY common. They have the same thing at the Plaza, Westport, West 39th St., and most recently in Brookside. It's also in the suburbs, e.g. E. 39th in Independence at SummitWoods in Lee's Summit. I know the sales tax is getting high, but at least it lets the people using the shopping center pay for the roads, instead of all the taxpayers that don't shop there.

  • At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Zona Rosa is just a disgusting eyesore. It looks like a movie set. Feels like a movie set. It's just ridiculous that suburb dwellers who enjoy it...are the same people who say they would never go downtown because of traffic or the obligatory excuse "where would I park??". Zona Rosa is just one more problem in a long list of things keeping Kansas City from becoming ONE city. It proliferates the insane sprawl of this super-sized city keeping everyone in their respective corners north/south/east/west and will keep the city expanding to no end. We are now sprawled from nearing Platte City to 200th street out south to Village West in Wyandotte. No one ever complain about gas prices ever again please.

  • At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I think Ruby Tuesday is toast; check out the one by Mission Mall... or is that one closed because the mall is doomed?


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