It’s Ice Cream Season–Stop by Brookside’s Newest Treat Shop!

Did you make a career change due to the COVID 19 pandemic? Jessica and Alex Wood did—and Brookside is better off for it! Their new ice cream shop is called French Custard.

Alex and Jessica Wood, owners of French Custard

Pre pandemic, the Woods were living in Manhattan NYC; the couple had their own e- commerce clothing line, Discourse NYC.  Jessica says they always like to “make our own stuff: we bake our own bread, make our own pizza, we ferment stuff” so when COVID hit and they reassessed priorities, the pair moved to Kansas City (where they are both from) and decided to make their own ice cream. “It was a COVID project” Jessica explains, “we love French custard ice cream, which is very popular in New York. There are so many artisan ice cream shops there and we missed being able to walk to our favorite spot for a  treat”.  Alex’s grandmother found an old 1980s ice cream maker in her basement (complete with instructions on a video cassette!!) and they started experimenting.  They gave samples to friends, hosted several pop ups and based on the enthusiastic response, decided to open a storefront. 

There are two different styles of ice cream, Jessica explains.  The “Philadelphia style” is  most common in the US—this style does not use eggs and does use a lot of stabilizers for consistency.  Jessica and Alex prefer the French custard style, which uses only eggs, milk, cream, and sugar— no other additives.  You can really tell the difference too: French Custard tastes very natural, fresh, and clean—rich and smooth with that special homemade burst of flavor.  All of their ice cream is made in the back of the store and the flavors change often.  Right now their best selling scoop is Salted Caramel Pretzel; other flavors include  Brookside Butter Pecan, Fruity Pebbles, Mint Chocolate Chip, Cinnamon Churro, Cookies and Cream and French Vanilla.  Alex and Jessica also have quite a few collaborations going on with other local businesses; Heirloom Bakery sells their ice cream during their Wednesday Summer happy hour and Bacaro Primo (Italian restaurant in the Crestwood Shops) features French Custard ice cream on their menu.

Alex and Jessica live in Brookside, within walking distance of the store.  “We are so excited to be open in Brookside; this is where we wanted to be.  We feel we have something very special to add to the flavor of Brookside” says Jessica.  “Everyone here is so very nice and helpful; French custard ice cream shops in NYC are very, very competitive.  Here, it’s a very friendly atmosphere”.

French Custard is currently open Tuesday/Wed/Thursday  from 2pm-9pm; Fridays from 2-10pm; Saturday noon-10pm and Sunday noon-9pm.  French Custard is located at 5905 Main St, along the Trolley Track Trail in the Morningside Shops.  Treat yourself soon!

A Chat with Sean Ackerson of the Brookside Business Association

A few weeks ago I posted a blog after meeting up with the new Waldo Business Association Executive Director, Chelsea Kapka.  I thought it would be a good idea to also chat with the Director of the Brookside Business Association Sean Ackerson, for an update on what’s going on in Brookside as well!

Sean reports that Brookside remains a healthy, desirable location for businesses  (certainly home sales remain strong in the area!).  Although World’s Window has closed, LADYCO recently moved into a larger location, and CYCLEBAR is now open.   A new bank is going into the former Bank of America location,  a few steps west of  Mike’s Liquors, and Meddy’s, a Wichita chain of Mediterranean restaurants, is taking over the former Panera location.  Nothing is happening that Sean is aware  of in the former Fiddly Fig location;  a member of Block Real Estate Services purchased the building and for some reason, staged a fire truck out in front.  That was a surprise to Sean; he says many people walking the area end up using it as a photo op!

Sean Ackerson

Another unexpected development was the “Brookside Local” shop at the new KCI. Described as “a thoughtful array of travel essentials, indulgences, and last minute giftable treats, presented in a space that pays homage to the vibrant neighborhood of Brookside”, Sean first learned about the space when merchants started calling, asking why they didn’t get a chance to display their local goods for sale in the space.  Apparently the Las Vegas based company who coordinated the retail areas didn’t contact the Brookside  association when planning:   reps approached a couple of stores directly (SKIN and Topsy’s) to provide items in the shop, and they used the iconic Brookside awning colors and  typeface  during the build out. Other Brookside merchants were confused regarding the lack of communication and opportunity; Sean didn’t know what happened and technically, this is a rip off of the Brookside image without permission.  Eventually the mystery was solved and Sean is in touch with KCI for better coordination.

One upcoming issue farther down the road: street improvements to Meyer Blvd and 63rd St.  Meyer is under the KC Parks and Recreation department; 63rd is not, so two different entities at City Hall need to coordinate and agree…of course, any suggested plans move ….very…..slowly…..The Association would like to see changes that reduce traffic speed, create dedicated turn lanes, and add a bike lane along one side of 63rd.

Overall, “many businesses are thriving like never before” says Sean and although it hurts to lose World’s Window, there are new businesses coming in and this “isn’t the first time Brookside has been through a transition. The new places that open help everyone.”

The neighborhood residents are very, very supportive of local businesses and the fact that we have such unique shops and restaurants here –that’s a big part of Brookside’s charm and what draws outsiders to the area. THANK YOU for being loyal to our area Brookside merchants!

Brookside Home Sales Report-December 2022 and Year End Recap

Another year of home buying in Brookside has come to a close…and even though our neighborhood is 100 years old, it remains quite popular! They don’t build houses like this anymore….

The first graph below outlines December 2022 single family home sales stats for Brookside (using the 64113 zip code); in the second graph, I’ve outlined sales for the past five years for comparison. Home values in Brookside…just keep rising!

December 2022December 2021
Median list price:$490,000$441,750
Median sales price:$501,000$436,750
Days on market: 15 4
No. of homes sold: 22 28

Last month, we had six homes sell for over $1,000,000- the top sales price was $1,395,000 (cash!) and the lowest was $290,000. Although some houses sat on the market a little longer, most buyers are paying at or over list price–even with higher interest rates. Now let’s look at the five year trend:

Median list price:$495,000$465,000$419,000$389,950$405,000
Median sales price:$500,000$475,000$417,000$380,000$397,000
Days on market: 3 3 8 23 18
No. of homes sold: 293 337 325 300 285

Home values in Brookside have risen just under 26% since 2018; the number of homes that turn over each year is fairly consistent. Fewer homes sold in 2022 than the past two years, most likely due to the rapid rise in interest rates and the persistent problem of not enough inventory.

As a Realtor, I am asked quite often: what’s happening with home sales? Here’s something that is always true: buyers want updated, well maintained homes that are priced at market value. The higher interest rates have affected some buyers’ purchasing power, but there is still a great demand for homes in the Brookside/Waldo neighborhood. Owning a home can be an excellent long term investment!

Brookside Home Sales Report-November 2022

Home sales are definitely slowing down in Brookside as we head towards the end of the year; however, prices are still rising–just not quite as much as earlier in 2022. Let’s take a look at single family home sales for last month in Brookside, using the main zip code of 64113 for the stats:

November 2022November 2021
Median list price:$475,000$425,000
Median sales price:$472,500$425,000
Days on market: 8 4
No. of homes sold: 19 31

The lowest closed price last month was $200K and the highest was $1,055,000–which was over the asking price. Fewer homes sold compared to November 2021 and the median price was just under list price. Here are the year-to-date figures:

Jan-Nov 2022Jan-Nov 2021
Median list price:$492,450$467,725
Median sales price:$500,000$475,000
Days on market: 3 3
No. of homes sold: 272 310

For the year, most homes have been selling over the asking price and go under contract in a very short amount of time. Sales have slowed–12% fewer homes have sold this year so far. There is still a shortage of updated homes priced under $350K in Brookside–those days may be gone forever! Currently there are 15 active listings, with a median list price of $565,000. Most of the homes are priced over $500K, with three homes over $1,000,000.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

Saying Goodbye to Bier Station

There are some iconic landmarks in Brookside and Waldo…places like Waldo Pizza, Roasterie Coffee, the Piano Room, McLain’s Bakery, Charlie Hoopers…and many more.  It’s what makes our neighborhood unique; these are not cookie cutter chains.    They are the kind of locally owned spots that you always enjoy going to; a place where you bring visitors and meet friends; often a place where the staff is consistent or you bump into someone you know.   One of our landmarks is changing hands next year: Bier Station

I first wrote about Bier Station ten years ago, shortly before it opened.  Owner John Couture was at the very beginning of the craft beer explosion: he offered 21 taps of fresh, rotating beers and hundreds of bottled options for customers to create their own personalized six packs. He and his family lived close by, and welcomed kids who stopped in with their parents, offering games and puzzles. Eventually John added more food selections and an outdoor patio.  The neighborhood embraced and supported Bier Station; it was becoming a landmark.

Naty Cardenas, left, and Bier Station owner John Couture

John did more than just sell beer; he started hosting events that supported local candidates and non-profit causes he believed in.  Bier Station initiated Q&A sessions with our local city council reps, fundraisers for Animal Rescue Alliance,  Moms Demand Action, homeless teen parents and various candidates for office; there were comedy nights, silent auctions and the infamous Josh Hawley Fun Run – the money raised from that event went to causes that the conservative Missouri senator is against.  John has always been an activist at heart, and he invited the community to participate and make a difference, as they enjoyed a beverage and conversation.

When I visited with John last week, he emphasized how much he’s enjoyed having Bier Station but it was time to move on.  “During the past decade, people’s drinking habits have changed.  There were just a couple of craft beer places in KC when I opened; now there are at least 30 or 40 options.  I’m proud to have opened the first craft beer/ tasting bar /bottle shop in the Midwest.  The bar has won many national awards and we’ve raised over $300,000 for non profit causes and civic campaigns”.  One of the events he’s most proud of:  working with the dean of Pharmacy at KU to host a COVID 19 vaccine clinic last year, vaccinating over 1000 people.  And in December 2020 when vandals smashed the front door of the building, locals came by with envelopes of money to help pay for the repair: McLain’s brought over goodies for the staff and business surged in support. “Our customers really are the best!  They are very friendly, very generous with tips and they get to know our staff.  Several close friendships between staff and patrons have developed over the years.”

City Barrel Brewery and Kitchen has purchased Bier Station and has a few changes planned: they will serve New York style pizza and redo the patio out front, adding a roof.  There will still sell beer to go and have several local brews on tap. As for John, he is taking some time off- his family is “very excited” to see more of him as he figures out next steps that will include some sort of political activism.  In the meantime, John invites you to stop in and enjoy a brew and  say goodbye before Bier Station changes hands. There is a big staff reunion on Monday Dec 19 and a final celebration on New Year’s Eve—the last night of Bier Station. Mark your calendar! Bier Station is located at 120 E. Gregory. Thank you John, and Bier Station, for all you have done for our neighborhood and community!

Armour Hills Home Sales Report-Oct 2022

Hope everyone had a relaxing holiday last week! Time to enjoy all the leftovers…! I have one more October sales report to post, regarding home sales in Armour Hills:

October 2022October 2021
Median list price:$490,000$380,000
Median sales price:$507,500$370,000
Days on market: 2 13
No. of homes sold: 4 5

Every house that closed last month was over the list price, and the lowest price was $415K. Interesting fact about the highest closed price: $50,000 over the list price; buyer purchased “sight unseen”. WOW. Below are the year-to-date numbers:

January-October 2022January-October 2021
Median list price:$399,000$372,400
Median sales price:$429,500$382,500
Days on market: 2 2
No. of homes sold: 66 58

Armour Hills isn’t following the Brookside trend this year–more homes have sold so far and values are up 12%! Homes are going under contract quickly with most buyers paying over asking price. Currently there are just two homes for sale in Armour Hills, both have been on the market for a several months–median list price is $449,950 and 98 days on market.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

Brookside Home Sales Report-October 2022

These things are true: sales of single family homes are slowing, and Brookside homes are generally defying the trend. Those sellers who have well maintained homes in a desirable location, and priced right–buyers are still out there, purchasing in Brookside! Let’s look at the numbers. I’m using the main Brookside zip code of 64113 for the report:

October 2022October 2021
Median list price:$584,475$485,000
Median sales price:$622,500$472,000
Days on market: 3 3
No. of homes sold: 18 27

Last month, of the 18 homes that closed, four homes were over $1,000,000 and 12 closed over $500K. That accounts for the higher median sales price-31% over October 2021! As you can see, most buyers paid over the list price. Houses continue to go under contract within a few days. . Here are the year-to-numbers:

Jan-Oct 2022Jan-Oct 2021
Median list price:$499,000$475,000
Median sales price:$505,500$480,525
Days on market: 3 3
No. of homes sold: 252 279

Comparing the YTD figures, Brookside home values are running 4.84% higher than last year even though less homes have sold. As interest rates have risen this year, some would-be sellers are sitting tight on their fixed low rates rather than have a new mortgage at a much higher price. Less inventory usually pushes prices up. Currently there are 19 homes for sale in Brookside, with a median list price of $525K and 38 days on the market. Four homes are priced over $1,000,000.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)

“Micro Event Space” Opens in East Brookside

Cocoa Spaces, 912 E 63rd St

Every so often, you may have a need for a smaller, special gathering—perhaps a retirement party, baby shower, going away get together, intimate wedding, family reunion; or perhaps a small meeting, business brainstorming retreat or indoor photo shoot.  You don’t want the restrictions and pricing of a hotel meeting room or restaurant, yet no one’s personal home is quite right.  Consider East Brookside’s newest business:  Cocoa Spaces, a “micro event space” that could be just what you are looking for!

Porshia Mitchell

Owner Porshia Mitchell is an electrical engineer by trade, and she always loved being the planner for her friend’s gatherings.  “I love the idea of bringing people together to celebrate”, she says, and had been pondering the idea of opening up such a space for a few years. When she turned 30, she was looking for a space to celebrate with her friends and had trouble finding such a spot. Her passion project turned into a reality when Cocoa Spaces opened at the end of July.    Located at 912 E 63rd St at Harrison, the event venue offers 1300 SF, equipped with a kitchenette, mobile bar, TV and sound system, tables, chairs, and a small lounge area; it is ADA accessible.  Cocoa Spaces comfortably holds 50-60 people at tables or reception style.  Porshia has a list of vendors you can work with for décor, music and accessories; regarding food and liquor, bring in your own or use a caterer.   Parking is available  in front, on the street and east of Rockhill Road. Rental prices vary depending on how long you want the space; there is a three hour minimum.

I asked Porshia how she came up with the name Cocoa Spaces.  “As a black woman in the world, I’m here to take up space—I can do whatever I put my mind to!”  Then she added, “And I love chocolate!” There is a real need for these “micro spaces” for various events involving  friends, family  or co-workers, especially with the holiday planning season coming up!  Remember Cocoa Spaces the next time you are looking for a small, customizable space for a gathering.  Porshia grew up nearby and wanted to be in this area—support local!  Learn more about Cocoa Spaces on their website or follow them on Instagram @cocoaspaces.

Updated Brookside Bungalow for Sale-Close to Streetcar/Whole Foods

This house is a rare find….a four bedroom bungalow, just over 2000 SF and move in ready! As you can see, very attractive curb appeal!

5618 Cherry St, Kansas City MO FOR SALE

Step inside to the first floor, featuring hardwood floors, living room with fireplace, spacious dining room, two bedrooms and full bath.

Living Room with Fireplace
Dining Room

The kitchen…is spectacular! Recently renovated, sellers have added all new appliances, marble backsplash, quartz counters, custom hood over gas stove and a separate beverage fridge.

Newly Remodeled Kitchen, with Plenty of Countertops and Cabinets

Surrounded by windows, the breakfast nook is full of natural light and leads to a large deck overlooking the back yard.

So much space in this upstairs primary suite! Vaulted ceilings, a walk in closet with laundry, and bathroom with shower and tub. The smaller bedroom on the second floor could be used as office space.

Plenty of grassy area in the fenced backyard for pets or garden; easy access to the lower level garage too!

5618 Cherry St…just a few blocks from Whole Foods, the future streetcar stop; close to Brookside, Crestwood Shops, Loose Park and the Trolley Track Trail! Offered at $419,000. Contact me for more information-Mary Hutchison, Better Homes and Gardens-Kansas City Homes.

Brookside Home Sales Report-July 2022

We have some interesting home sales stats for this month’s Brookside home sales report–a big increase in price compared to last year, but fewer homes sold. Let’s take a look at the specifics; I am using the main Brookside zip code of 64113 for this info, single family homes:

July 2022July 2021
Median list price:$540,000$434,500
Median sales price:$530,000$460,000
Days on market: 3 3
No. of homes sold: 35 28

Home values rose 15% compared to July 2021, yet many buyers ended up paying just under the list price last month–whereas last July, when interest rates were much lower, buyers were paying over asking price. Homes are still going under contract quickly–within a few days. Last month, four homes closed over $1,000,000; the highest closed sale was $1.7 million and the lowest sale was $310,000. Now let’s look at the year-to-date numbers:

Jan-July 2022Jan-July 2021
Median list price:$495,000$450,000
Median sales price:$510,000$478,000
Days on market: 2 2
No. of homes sold: 181 196

These figures show a 6.5% increase in home prices YTD compared to the same period in 2021; buyers paying about 3% over asking price. Fewer homes sold so far this year; this could be a result of the higher interest rates that started in the Spring. Currently there are 14 active single family homes for sale in Brookside, with an average list price of $429,950 and 20 days on the market.

(All stats taken from Heartland MLS; deemed reliable but not guaranteed.)