So, farewell then, Plaza and hello to Crown Center. Halls spent nearly 50 years on the Plaza before finally closing up and re-opening at the Crown Center (owned by Halls) on Sunday Sept 14th. Truth be told, it was probably an inevitable and almost certainly wise move – the Halls plaza building seemed to be somewhat of a metaphor for Kansas City itself in recent years – grand in scope but when you looked closer it was tired, depressing and smelled of damp. What will happen to the building, of course, only time will tell. It’s an architectural curiosity that may well sit idle for a while. It also means that Burberry is now the only high end clothing store on the Plaza, which will make their position yet more precarious as the Plaza seems to shift further away from high end stores into becoming one huge eatery.
But what of Halls at Crown Center, well it is a Halls II of sorts. Going with the resurgence in life currently running through KC as a city courtesy of events such as Google Fiber, it has taken on a more modern outlook and the 60,000 square foot store at 2450 Grand Boulevard has looked to sweep away the fusty, fuddy duddy image and become more forward looking. A good example of this is the creation of the H Bar where customers can take a break for food and drink whilst shopping and the addition of flat screen TVs.
All in all, Halls seems to be taking a book out of Selfridges of London in terms of ‘the full shopping experience’, and let’s hope that it manages to keep all the high end lines as there are some names missing in their designer lines. For KC to really revitalize itself, it has to – absolutely has to – have a high end department store to show that the aspiration and the money is still in the local community and not fall foul of an ebay or Amazon shopping mentality.
Halls Plaza is dead, long live Halls Crown Center, may it reign long and prosperous.
Having some time off, we decided to pay the new Halls a sneaky visit and it feels much more modern and open plan than the plaza location and, although in some areas the lines do feel a little thin – female shoewear in particular – it does feel that the apparel sections have been expanded and, if anything, feels more like an upmarket store than it ever did at the Plaza, their traditional lines such as Hugo Boss, now being complemented with more avant garde lines such as Clover Canyon.
Entrance from the main atrium
The funky looking H Bar
Not only that, while shopping we bumped into a trunk sale, complete with fashion show – which it seems may be a regular feature at the new location.