The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce bestowed its highest civic honor, the Kansas Citian of the Year Award, on Phil Kirk, retired chairman of DST Realty Inc. and a major contributor to the downtown’s revitalization. The award was presented before a crowd of more than 1,800 during the chamber’s annual dinner.
A 1963 graduate of Northwestern Law School, Kirk made his first downtown real estate purchase in 1983 — a grimy office building at 1015 Central St. to house his commercial realty firm. “Dad was so upset with me that he cried,” Kirk once recalled. “He said, ‘Your mother sacrificed everything so you could go to law school, and you have gone and done a dumb thing like this’.”
Kirk had started his career as an antitrust lawyer. But his professional interests soon gravitated toward real estate and redevelopment of the crumbling downtown area. Under Kirk’s leadership, DST completed the historic rehabilitation and new construction of 38 buildings, 2.3 million square feet of office space and 7,495 parking spaces on Downtown’s West Side.