A site plan for a redeveloped ANTIOCH CENTER. A new power plaza, known as ANTIOCH CROSSING, includes structures from the original shopping center (these are surrounded in blue). The first newly-built stores opened in late 2014.
Original drawing from http://antiochcrossing.com



ANTIOCH CENTER
NE Antioch Road and NE Vivion Road / US 69
Kansas City, Missouri

Construction commenced on Missouri's first shopping mall in 1954. It was built by the Kansas City-based Elbel Construction Company on a 41.5 acre parcel, located 6 miles northeast of downtown Kansas City, Missouri. The mall site was part of a section of land that had been annexed into Kansas City on January 1, 1950.

ANTIOCH CENTER was built in two stages. Antioch South, encompassing three store blocks, was anchored by a W.T. Grant variety store (the 600th in the chain). It, and a Kroger supermarket, opened for business August 1, 1956. Antioch North, consisting of four store blocks, was dedicated in the fall of 1962.

ANTIOCH CENTER was anchored by a 2-level (102,100 square foot) Macy's Kansas City. The complex, encompassing 481,600 leasable square feet and eighty inline stores, was configured with an open-air Main Level. Additional stores were situated in a basement facing onto a lower level parking area on the east side of the property. Charter tenants included Steve's Shoes, Forum Cafeteria, Harvey's Card & Party Shop and the Antioch Lanes bowling alley.

Commercial competition came quickly. BLUE RIDGE MALL {11 miles southeast, in Kansas City and Independence, Missouri} opened in 1958. It was joined by METRO NORTH MALL {4.3 miles northwest, also in Kansas City, Missouri} in 1977. Finally, there was MISSION CENTER, a 1986 rebuild of a 1950s strip center {12.4 miles southwest, in Mission, Kansas}.

ANTIOCH CENTER had been expanded in 1973-1974. A 1-level (101,000 square foot) Sears anchored a 185,300 square foot addition to the north end of the mall. The complex now housed 666,900 leasable square feet and ninety-four stores and services. It was fully-enclosed in 1977-1978.

Topeka, Kansas-based Show Biz Pizza Place opened their first location at ANTIOCH CENTER on March 3, 1980. The chain, which had moved its headquarters to Irving, Texas, merged with rival company Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza Time Theatre in 1984. All restaurants were put under the Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza banner in 1992.

Anchor store rebrandings got underway at ANTIOCH CENTER in 1986, when Macy's was rebranded by Dillard's. This store was shuttered in January 1992. The structure was remodeled and re-opened, as a Burlington Coat Factory, in late 1992. The exterior of the mall structure was also renovated in 1993.

Sears embarked on a major renovation of their ANTIOCH CENTER store in April 1997. A parking deck, comprising the first level, was closed-in and made into 49,000 additional square feet of retail area. The remodeled (150,000 square foot) store held its grand re-opening June 9, 1998.

By this time, ANTIOCH CENTER was beginning a downward spiral. The complex, anchored by Sears and Burlington Coat Factory, had Levitz Furniture and a Lee's Summit, Missouri-based Payless Cashways home improvement store as junior anchors. A marketing shift to a "value-oriented shopping center" worked for a time. However, before long, vacancies began to pile up.

The struggling center was purchased by Toronto-based Eastbourne Investments in November 2002. A 72 million dollar redevelopment was announced in October 2004. This was to convert the moribund mall into a 470,000 square foot, office / retail / entertainment facility and be funded, in part, by millions of dollars in tax abatements.

However, the project faced delay after delay. The original demolition date of March 2009 came and went. The mid-century shopping mall continued to deteriorate, with the economic meltdown of 2007-2008 blamed for the lack of progress toward its renewal. By mid-2010, there were three stores in operation out of a total of ninety-four spaces. These were Sears, Burlington Coat Factory and Catharine's apparel.

Eastbourne Investments turned the property over to M & I Bank, who had financed its purchase, and walked away from the project in July 2010. In September, KC-based MBS Management, who had redeveloped BLUE RIDGE MALL into the open-air BLUE RIDGE CROSSING, came onboard the ANTIOCH CENTER project.

Under the auspices of the Antioch Redevelopment Partners, Limited Liability Company, they would oversee redevelopment of the decaying retail hub. Slated to begin in March 2011, this process was delayed when Sears Holdings was issued a preliminary injunction against demolition. Sears dropped its court case in August 2011.

A final redevelopment and Tax Increment Financing plan was approved in November 2011. By December, preliminary demolition work was underway, consisting of utility relocation and asbestos abatement. By January 2012, full-scale demolition had commenced. Sears, Burlington Coat Factory and a block of stores in between were left standing, along with an outparcel Sears Auto Center, Bank of America and Goodyear Tire & Auto. A total of 200,000 square feet of mall space was razed.

Remaining structures have been worked into an open-air strip complex known as ANTIOCH CROSSING. Ground breaking for new retail space took place in the summer of 2013, with the first new tenant, a (41,100 square foot) WalMart Neighborhood Market, holding its grand opening November 5, 2014.

At last count, there were eleven stores and services in operation at ANTIOCH CROSSING. New tenants were Vintage Stock, Firehouse Subs, GNC Live Well, Gerry Optical Company and Modern Nails & Spa. 

Sources:

"Antioch Center" article on Wikipedia
http://www.antiochcentermall.com (defunct)
"Chuck E. Cheese's" article on Wikipedia
http://sungazette.com
http://www.kansascity.bizjournals.com
http://antiochcrossing.com