Kansas City Metro

kansas city MO

About the Kansas City

With a population of 2,340,000 Kansas City, Missouri is the 30th largest city in the United States. Heart of Americas it is near both the population center of the United States and the geographic center of the 48 contiguous states. “Forbes” Magazine ranks Kansas City as one of America’s Best Downtowns!   U-Haul ranks Kansas City a Top 10 Moving Destination!  Yahoo Finance rated Kansas City 1 of top 20 cities to survive the economic downturn, and the L.A. Times calls Kansas City the #1 most underrated city in the United States.

Kansas City Economy

The Kansas City Region is home to four Fortune 500 Compnaies, including:  Sprint/Nextell (#87), Seabord Corp. (#411), O’Reilly Automotive (#412), and YRC Worldwide (#487).  Additional Fortune 1000 headquarters in Kansas City include:  AMC Entertainment, Cerner Corporation, DST Systems, Garmin International, Great Plains Energy (KCPL), Hallmark Greeting Cards, H&R Block, Corpo Corporation, Westar Energy, and YRC Worldwide. Kansas City is also headquarters to Applebee’s Restaurants, Hostess Brands, and Russell Stover Candies.  The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics  is headquartered in Kansas City.  Numerous agriculture companies operate out of the city. Dairy Farmers of America, the largest Dairy Co-op in the United States is located here. Kansas City Board of Trade is the principal trading Exchange for hard red winter wheat — the principal ingredient of bread.  Three international law firms, Lathrop & Gage, Stinson Leonard Street, and Shook, Hardy & Bacon are based in the in Kansas City.

Kansas City is a regional office for the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government is the largest employer in the Kansas City metro area, with more than 146 federal agencies maintaining a presence. The Internal Revenue Service maintains a service center in Kansas City that is nearly 1,400,000 square feet.  The IRS has 2,700 full-time employees in Kansas City and upwards of 4,000 employees during peak tax season. Kansas City Plant, which is a National Nuclear Security Administration facility operated by Honeywell employs nearly 2,700 at the Kansas City Plant, producing and assembling 85 percent of the non-nuclear components of the United States nuclear bomb arsenal. The Social Security Administration has more than 1,700 employees in the Kansas City. The Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant, building the Ford F-150.  There is also a General Motors Fairfax Assembly Plant, while Smith Electric Vehicles builds electric cars by the airport.

One of the largest drug manufacturing plants in the United States is the Sanofi-Aventis plant located in south Kansas City in the  Marion Laboratories.  Kansas City has been making major advances related to animal health sciences, an effort recently bolstered by the selection of Manhattan, Kansas, as the site for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which conducts leading research on animal-related diseases.

The Kansas City area consistently ranks among the top U.S. cities for supporting small businesses, according to “Entrepreneur magazine.” and “Kiplinger’s” Magazine ranks Kansas City #3 on it’s Top Ten list of cities for business start-up.  Employment in the Kansas City area economy has returned to pre-recession levels.

Kansas City Education

30.5% of the Kansas City workforce has a bachelors degree.  Twenty four year universities within the greater Kansas City area prepare 100,547 students for the work force.  With 27,135 students The University of Kansas is the largest, located 40 minutes West of Downtown, and the University of Missouri has another 16,000 student enrollment.  Seventeen two year colleges educate another 52,000 students.

Housing in Kansas City

Kansas City consistently ranks among the nation’s most affordable housing markets, according to the National Association of Realtors.  The average foreclosure price in Kansas City, Missouri is $70,500, 38% below the national average of $113,000.  Cash flow opportunities are in the 8% – 12% ROI (Return on Investment) range, and for the price of an average foreclosure, the Rich Life Real Estate team provides renovated properties with tenants in place.  There is strong demand for rental property in Atlanta with 38% of the properties serving as rentals, and vacancy rates at 13.28%. Foreclosures are down 48% from last year, and prices went down .39% last year, meaning that there is still negotiating room, but the market is stabilizing.

Kansas City History

In 1831 a group of Mormons from New York settled what would later be a part of Kansas City. They built the first school within the current boundaries of the city, but were forced out by mob violence in 1833.  Kansas City, Missouri, incorporated on March 28, 1853, straddling the border between Missouri and Kansas, and being on the Kansas and Missouri rivers it was a great place to build settlements.  By that time, the Town of Kansas, Westport, and nearby Independence, had become critical points in America’s westward expansion. Three major trails – the Santa FeCalifornia, and Oregon – all originated in Jackson County.

During the Civil War, the Kansas City, Missouri was the focus of intense military activity. Although the First Battle of Independence in August 1862 resulted in a Confederate victory, the Southerners were unable to follow up their win in any significant fashion, as Kansas City was occupied by Union troops and proved too heavily fortified for them to assault. The Second Battle of Independence, also resulted in a Confederate triumph. Once again the Southern victory proved hollow, as the Confederates were decisively defeated in the pivotal Battle of Westport the next day, effectively ending their efforts to occupy the city.

General Thomas Ewing, in response to a successful raid on nearby Lawrence, Kansas, led by William Quantrill, issued General Order No. 11, forcing the eviction of residents in four western Missouri counties—including Jackson—except those living in the city and nearby communities and those whose allegiance to the Union was certified by Ewing.

After the Hannibal & St. Joseph Railroad bridge over the Missouri River opened in 1869, Kansas City experienced a population explosion.  By 1901 the city was the 22nd largest city in the U.S. with 163,752 people.   As Kansas City has grown and changed over the years, it has remained the #1 Railroad Hub for the United States, ranking first in rail tonnage, and second in rail volume.  Today the city is one of the most important centers of government, business, and bio-technology.

Culture in Kansas City

Nicknamed the City of Fountains. With over 200 fountains, the city claims to have the second most in the world, just behind Rome.  The fountains at Kauffman Stadium, commissioned by original Kansas City Royals owner, are the largest privately funded fountains in the world.  The city also has more boulevards than any other city except Paris and has been called “Paris of the Plains.” The overwhelming popularity of soccer, both professionally and as a youth sport, in the city as well as Sporting Park being a popular home stadium for the US Men’s National Team has led to the city being known to many as “The Soccer Capital of America”.  The Country Club Plaza is the center of many cultural events in Kansas City.

The Kansas City Repertory Theatre, the metropolitan area’s top professional theatre company and the Starlight Theatre, 8,105-seat outdoor theater, are a popular theater company and theater respectively. The Kansas City Symphony is located at the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts. Lyric Opera of Kansas City, offers American contemporary opera productions, and the Civic Opera Theater of Kansas City, performs at the Folly Theater in downtown, and the UMKC Performing Arts Center. Every summer from mid-June to early July, The Heart of America Shakespeare Festival has a production at Southmoreland Park near theNelson-Atkins Museum.The Kansas City Ballet, is a troupe comprising 25 professional dancers and offers  classical to contemporary ballets, also located at The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts.

Kansas City jazz in the 1930s marked the transition from big bands to the bebop influence of the 1940s. The 1979 documentary The Last of the Blue Devils portrays this era in interviews and performances by jazz notables from KC.  In the 1970s, Kansas City attempted to resurrect the glory of the jazz era, opening jazz clubs in the River Quay area of City Market along the Missouri.  Live music venues can be found throughout the city, especially in the Westport entertainment district centered on Broadway and Westport Road near the Country Club Plaza, as well as the 18th & Vine area.