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Downtowners group honors Mel Mallin, K.C. developer

The Downtowners, a business and civic group of more than 800 members committed to the betterment of downtown Kansas City, Mo., recently presented its annual Jim Davis Award to Mel Mallin, a native Kansas Citian and longtime real estate developer. Mallin is a resident of Village Shalom in Overland Park.

Mallin has devoted most of his adult life to the revitalization of downtown Kansas City, in particular the River Market and Garment District areas. Founder and past president of the River Market Business Association, he is known as a trailblazer in developing loft living in Kansas City. His passion for loft-design apartments and condominiums was inspired by New York’s SoHo neighborhood after World War II. Mallin pioneered the conversion of under-utilized, historic buildings to residential use, a trend that has brought thousands of residents to Kansas City’s downtown area.

“The Downtowners Board was inspired by Mallin’s vision to bring people downtown to live, not just to work,” said Roger Summers, president of the Downtowners board of directors. “He has had a lasting impact on the makeup of downtown, and no one is more deserving of the annual award given in memory of Jim Davis.” Mallin received a standing ovation as Summers presented him with the award.

James H. Davis was a reporter for The Kansas City Business Journal for 12 years, covering real estate, development and banking. Before his death in 2008, Davis wrote a passage for his own memorial service that challenged the citizens of Kansas City to keep the downtown renaissance alive.

The Downtowners group has presented the Jim Davis Award each year since 2009 to a prominent individual who has made a positive, broad and long-lasting impact on the downtown area. In 2012, the honoree was Shirley Helzberg who, among her many civic activities, serves as a lifetime member of the Village Shalom Board of Directors.