Best Developer

Ken McClain

Lawyer Ken McClain made a pile of money suing tobacco companies, and a substantial portion of his take now lines the streets of Independence Square. Discouraged by the lack of activity in Independence, Missouri, where he lives and works, McClain used his fortune to acquire and fix up properties. A former Katz Drugstore became the destination restaurant Ophelia's. A fading bowling alley was cleaned up and tricked out for the Lebowski generation. McClain and his wife, Cindy, have also opened a pub, a pizza place, a soda fountain, a furniture store, a boutique, a yoga studio and other spots — investments that few profit-driven developers would have dared. The tastemakers turn off some residents, but the grouches who complain about "Kendependence" would have more to complain about if McClain had parked his nicotine-stained Benjamins in the bond market instead.

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Previously in Best of Kansas City

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