Abbott Properties’ base of operations is at 1837 Grand, in a building not long ago occupied by a business called Cowtown T-Shirts. The space has been renovated — horizontal wood, glass-paned offices, concrete floor — to accommodate Abbott’s employees: construction workers, leasing agents, the management team. Guys in Carhartts come and go clutching Jimmy John’s cups; a sign inside near the door warns, “If you are dirty, don’t sit on the couch.”
Abbott is 44, with blue eyes that rarely blink and a surfer’s lilt to his voice that partly belies the fact that he has been a millionaire since he was 27 years old. In many ways, Abbott embodies the current aspirations of the city. He cites articles on the internet that call Kansas City a city “on the move,” a place to keep “on your radar,” a spot that is fast becoming “on the map.” He is fond of Richard Florida–style buzzwords.
“We are working to create an entrepreneurial and creative heartbeat for the city,” Abbott says, gazing out his conference-room windows onto 19th Street. “I see the East Crossroads as a boutique area where entrepreneurs flock in Kansas City.”