Published October 12th, 2021 at 7:00 AM
The first Amazon retail outlet in the Kansas City area is in the works for the Country Club Plaza, according to a permit application filed with the city last week.
The online retail giant is planning to locate its store in the corner space formerly occupied by the Tesla car dealership at 450 Nichols Road. Tesla moved out in early 2020 to a location near 103rd Street and State Line Road.
Amazon is planning to invest about $700,000 renovating the location, according to the building permit application, but exactly what type of store its planning couldn’t be determined.
A spokesperson for the Plaza said it was up to tenants to discuss their plans. A representative for Amazon could not be reached immediately for comment.
City planners also said they don’t know the type of store Amazon is seeking permits.
Regardless of which store format Amazon brings to the Plaza, it’s good news for the Kansas City shopping icon that began opening a century ago.
“It’s another national brand and flagship location,” said Audrey Navarro of Clemons Real Estate, a professional with a background in commercial retail.
“They are going to drive destination traffic from across the metro. That’s what shopping center developers want with destinations like the Plaza.”
The global online retailer based in Seattle has been moving into the world of bricks-and-mortar retailing for several years now, opening Amazon Books, Amazon 4-Star, Amazon Pop-Up and Amazon Fresh grocery stores around the country. Amazon purchased Whole Foods Market, which operates an outlet at 51st Street and Brookside Boulevard, several years ago.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported Amazon is planning to open department stores in the near future that would occupy approximately 30,000 square feet and include clothing in its merchandise mix.
That size likely would be too large for the former Tesla space. But either an Amazon 4-Star or Amazon Books could be a candidate for the Plaza location.
Amazon 4-Star carries what the the firm describes as a “highly curated” selection of products from the top categories on amazon.com, including consumer electronics, toys, games, books, kitchen ware and home goods.
“Every product in the store is rated 4 stars and above by our customers, a top seller, or new and trending on amazon.com,” according to the Amazon website.
The closest Amazon 4-Star to Kansas City is located in St. Louis.
The Amazon Books shops specialize in best-selling books and other merchandise.
“We’ve applied over twenty years of experience as a customer-focused, online retailer to build a store that integrates the benefits of offline and online shopping and spurs discovery of great books, Amazon devices and customer favorites,” according to the website.
The nearest Amazon Books to Kansas City are in Chicago and Denver.
Amazon Pop-Ups are described as a “themed selection of top brands frequently updated and presented to you by Amazon.”
Steve Block of Block Real Estate Services welcomed Amazon’s interest in the Country Club Plaza.
“It’s interesting and I’m glad to hear about it,” Block said. “Certainly it’s a great tenant for the Plaza in terms of credit and a draw.”
In other Plaza retail news, Nordstrom is still planning to open its 122,000 square-foot store on Jefferson Street next to Unity Temple at the Plaza in Fall 2023, according to a spokesperson.
Flatland contributor Kevin Collison is the founder of CityScene KC, an online source for downtown news and issues. Liam Dai contributed to this report.