O’Neil Bridge to begin short-term repairs on May 19

The Buck O’Neil Bridge will be partly closed for about six months for repairs. (Image from Missouri Department of Transportation)

By Kevin Collison, CityScene KC

Southbound traffic on the Buck O’Neill Bridge, a major link connecting the Northland and Downtown, is scheduled to shut down on Saturday, May 19 for a $7 million repair project.

Repair work to the former Broadway Bridge, which carries 44,000 vehicles daily on Route 169, is expected to be completed by Dec. 1. Northbound traffic will not be affected during construction.

The short-term repair project to the 62-year-old bridge will buy time for planning and building a replacement that would open in 2023, officials said at a recent press conference at the Mid-America Regional Council offices.

“This has been a tremendous partnership with the MIssouri Department of Transportation,” said City Manager Troy Schulte. “This is the first step in a multi-step process to build a brand, new bridge. This is a good day in Kansas City.”

The $7 million cost of the O’Neil Bridge repairs will be split evenly between the city and state. It will include repairs to expansion joints, cable replacements and a partial scour remediation.

During the repair project, one lane of Route 169 southbound will continue to allow access to the Charles Wheeler Downtown Airport from the north, but no farther.

Suggested detours:

  • Southbound traffic on Route 169 and I-29 will be directed to Southbound I-35 and across the Christopher S. Bond Bridge.
  • Traffic entering onto Southbound Route 69 south of I-29 will be directed to Southbound Route 9 and across The Heart of America Bridge.

The planned $200 million replacement bridge could directly connect U.S. 169 to I-35.

The project budget also includes $2 million for an environmental study that will lay the groundwork for what’s expected to be the construction of a $200 million replacement bridge.

Key capital funding for that larger project was recently approved by city voters in April.

The city is expected to pick up $40 million of the cost with another $60 million provided by regional federal transportation funding. MoDOT will contribute $100 million for the project.

Susan Barry, MoDOT assistant district engineer, said the environmental study would take about 1 1⁄2 years to complete. Following that, a decision will be made on a new bridge which would probably be completed in 2023.

The new bridge is expected directly connect U.S. 169 traffic with Interstate 35, eliminating the current awkward situation in the River Market where traffic must exit first on to Broadway a short distance before making the connection.

Barry said a new bridge would be designed to accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. It also would complement proposed improvements to the North Loop freeway that are being considered in the Beyond the Loop study.

Schulte also said the city will continue to seek additional federal funding for the bridge replacement project to help reduce the local cost. The old bridge will be demolished when its replacement is completed.

This article appeared originally on the KCUR public radio website.

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‘Beyond the Loop’ seeks to relieve Downtown freeway damage

Rendering of how a reconnected Independence Avenue could look in River Market. (Image from Beyond the Loop)

Beyond the Loop, a Downtown planning strategy for the future of the North Loop freeway, Buck O’Neil Bridge and Independence Avenue, is holding two public meetings this month to refine potential alternatives, according to Kevin Collison on CitySceneKC.com.

City and state officials have come up with a $200 million, long-term plan to build a new O’Neil (formerly Broadway) bridge that would directly connect 169 Highway and Interstate 35, and provide an exit to Downtown.

Moving forward with that replacement project is contingent on city voters renewing the 1 percent capital improvement tax in April.

The bridge project is listed as a short- and medium-term goal in a recent strategic infrastructure vision report prepared by the Downtown Council infrastructure and open spaces committee.

According to the committee, a new O’Neil bridge would better connect through traffic to I-35, be a more attractive gateway to downtown, resolve awkward traffic flow issues on Fifth and Sixth streets and improve access to the River Market and West Bottoms.

In the meantime, repairs to the O’Neil bridge are expected to begin in late spring. It will require the closing of southbound lanes, but northbound traffic will continue. The work is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

The future of the North Loop and Independence Avenue is less clear. The Beyond the Loop process has studied potentially narrowing of the North Loop freeway corridor, which separates the River Market from downtown, and possibly downgrading it to a boulevard.

Beyond the Loop also has considered a plan to lower the Missouri 9 highway embankment and reconnecting Independence Avenue, a move that would reunite the River Market with the Columbus Park neighborhood. The estimated cost of reconnecting the avenue is $54 million.

Last September, a national panel of Urban Land Institute experts recommended the Independence Avenue project be a priority.

As for the North Loop concepts, the ULI panel said those major investments would not be cost effective until at least 2028. The Downtown Council infrastructure committee however, considers improvements to the North Loop between the O’Neil and Kit Bond bridges to be a short- and long-term goal.

“Should this be a parkway, covered highway, traffic redirected to I-670 (South Loop) and closed for development, or just efficiency improvements by redesigning the access points?” asked the committee.

In a separate Downtown freeway study sponsored by the Downtown Council, engineers at HNTB have determined a four-block section of the South Loop could be decked with a park for an estimated $139 million. The 1960s era freeway separates Downtown from the Crossroads Arts District.

Open houses for the Beyond the Loop process are set for 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at the Mid-America Regional Council offices at 600 Broadway, and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 22 at iWerx, 1520 Clay St., North Kansas City. You can RSVP here.

Review displays, assessments of the refined alternatives and results of future traffic models will be at either open house. For more information contact Martin Rivarola at 816-474-4240.

To see more coverage of Downtown news, check out CitySceneKC.com early and often.

Hotel groundbreaking marks ‘new chapter in Downtown’

Kansas City’s long quest to build a Downtown convention hotel culminated Thursday on a sparkling morning at a formal groundbreaking by the construction site at 17th and Baltimore, reported Kevin Collison, editor of CitySceneKC.com.

More than 200 people celebrated the construction start of the 800-room Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel, a $322.7 million project that’s expected to be completed by late April 2020.

“We want this building to be part of the vibrant community you’ve spent generations creating in Kansas City,” said Jonathan Tisch, CEO and chairman of Loews Hotels. “The history of this project is legendary, so many men and women spent years to make sure this would happen.”

The Loews convention hotel will rise 24 stories from Baltimore. (Image from Cooper Carry architects)

It was 30 years ago that Texas billionaire Ross Perot Jr. first pursued a convention hotel project for the area where the new 24-story Loews is being built. The current effort led by attorney Mike Burke (pictured in the foreground of the photo above) began in 2011.

“There were were roadblocks, people saying you couldn’t do it,” said Mayor Sly James. “Every single time, Mike was there to help us get over the hump.”

Tisch also praised the mayor’s role in bringing the project to fruition. “Your leadership has been extraordinary,” he said. “You had a vision and didn’t let any hurdle get in your way.”

Work actually began a month ago at the 3-acre site which is across Wyandotte Street from the Bartle Hall Grand Ballroom. The American Hereford Association building has been demolished and a tower crane loomed above the white tent were the formal ceremony was held.

New York-based Loews is promising a four star-plus star hotel that will elevate the city’s opportunities to land large conventions.

“Kansas City is very much in our plans to grow in American cities with a bright future,” Tisch said. “If you look at our 75 year history, we’ve used our connections to the convention industry as a way to grow our business. We know who the groups are, how to serve them and they like doing business with Loews.”

The Shriners already have scheduled an convention for July 2020 that will draw 20,000 attendees.

“This is a really, really cool day,” James said. “It will mark a new chapter in Downtown Kansas City. For everyone who said it couldn’t happen, shouldn’t happen, you were wrong.”

To read the complete story, visit CitySceneKC.com.


City Council reaches understanding with KCI developer

The modern and uniquely Kansas City, Missouri, airport that voters approved in November is back on track to open in 2021, now that the City Council has approved an agreement with the developer selected to build the much-anticipated single terminal.

The council voted 8-5 on Thursday to approve the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Edgemoor Infrastructure. The City Council voted 9-4 in December to reject the initial proposal.The non-binding MOU will set the framework for upcoming negotiations on the final development agreement and related documents.

“I’m happy, relieved, and, most of all, excited that we can finally move on to the next phase of this project and give Kansas Citians the airport they want and deserve,” Mayor Sly James said. “This wasn’t always a pretty process, but at the end of the day, when city officials trust the democratic process and act to serve Kansas Citians, we move forward as a community. Now, it’s time to get to work on the next steps.”

Those next steps include Edgemoor and the Aviation Department working together to quickly establish a maximum guaranteed price for the project. The agreement limits the City’s liability and makes Edgemoor solely responsible for any cost overruns.

Another important step will be the environmental assessment that the FAA requires for such projects.

The new MOU addresses 43 of 45 points of concern the council brought to attorneys representing the city in negotiations with Edgemoor. The new version includes a revised $28.9 million community benefits agreement with money for child care and free busing for those working on the project.

The Nov. 7, 2017, election generated strong regional interest and about 75 percent of those casting ballots supported the project, which is expected to cost slightly more than $1 billion to complete.

“Kansas City voters sent a clear message to us last November that they wanted a world-class airport for our City, and they wanted it done in a manner that was transparent and that would make our city proud,” Third District City Councilmember Jermaine Reed said.

Fourth District Councilmember Jolie Justus said the vote would “show that Kansas City is open for business, innovation and partnership.”

The new terminal will be built on the site of Terminal A, which has been closed for several years due to airline mergers. Terminals B & C will continue to operate as usual.

City officials have specified that the new terminal must have certain features that keep and improve the existing convenience of the terminals at Kansas City International Airport.

Edgemoor’s preliminary design features a two-level curbside drop-off and pickup area which will be more convenient and less crowded for travelers. Also, waiting areas at each gate will have room for the increased number of passengers on today’s planes.

The requirements to build the terminal include:

  • Private financing for a 750,000 square foot terminal
  • A 6,500-spot parking garage
  • 35 gates (expandable to 42 gates)
  • A local workforce
  • Prevailing wages for construction workers
  • Assurance that the City’s MBE/WBE goals as well as workforce development or job training for local workers are met or exceeded
  • 1% of the cost dedicated to the arts

Financing for the new terminal will be paid back from airport revenues, and the City will continue to own and operate the airport.

For more information on the project, check out the NewKCI site on KCMO.gov.


State of Downtown introduces new platform of data reporting

The Downtown Council introduced its new online dashboard on Friday that illustrates the progress that Downtown has achieved in quality of life categories such as economy, housing, development and quality of life.

This is a moment of clarity and opportunity for Downtown Kansas City.

The KC urban core is riding a 15-year wave of growth and prosperity that is attracting residents, employers and talent, while unlocking opportunities and engaging private investment in Downtown. The momentum is gaining speed every day, as evidenced by more than $2 billion in new economic development projects – to date – that have begun along the Downtown streetcar line in just the last 2.5 years.

In the face of this urban propulsion, the Downtown Council (DTC) on Friday introduced a new platform – the State of Downtown – to report objective data that captures progress and trends, as well as distinguishes Downtown KC locally, regionally and nationally.

This marriage of clarity and opportunity has resulted in the release of the first State of Downtown report by the DTC, in cooperation with mySidewalk, an independent data clearinghouse in Kansas City. The inaugural report – drawn from objective data sources such as the U.S. Census – is available at www.downtownkc.org/data.

“Downtown Kansas City is experiencing an incredible boom,” said Bill Dietrich, President & CEO of the DTC. “With its highest population and growth rate since Kansas City’s population peak in 1970, investment and construction in Downtown infrastructure, housing and business is all increasing.

“When you add it together, Downtown has a youthful, diverse, growing population of high-wage earners in a growing economy in the most affordable, amenity-rich neighborhood in our region.”

A sampling of results from the initial State of Downtown indicates:

  • 41% of Downtown residents are Millennials (roughly, ages 20-36); a greater share of the population of Kansas City, Mo., or the metropolitan KC area
  • Downtown KC’s Millennial population is very comparable to our U.S. peer cities
  • 74% of all Downtown residents are younger than Baby Boomers (ages 53-71)
  • Downtown has the highest job density in the metropolitan area with more than 81,000 jobs, as of 2015. Given that, less than 1 percent of the city’s landmass generates 27 percent of its employment opportunities.
  • Employees in Downtown collectively earn more than $3.5 billion in total annual wages; in earning tax alone, that amounts to $35 million in revenue to the city annually


“Our work with continuously updated data provided through mySidewalk is designed to elevate the economic engine of Downtown, as well as to escalate the Downtown Council’s efforts to create a vibrant, diverse and economically sustainable community,” Nate Orr, Chair of the Downtown Council and Partner at Spencer Fane, told an audience of 1,000 Downtown stakeholders on Friday at the Kansas City Convention Center.

mySidewalk is a city intelligence tool that helps analysts extract data out of silos and into operational, strategic, and policy decisions. It provides the DTC with the tools necessary to capture accurate, objective data and to compare Kansas City with most of the major metropolitan area across the United States.

The resulting State of Downtown report aligns data for Downtown Kansas City with the downtowns of peer cities, including Charlotte, N.C.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Louisville, Ky; Salt Lake City, Utah; and San Antonio, Texas.  The platform enables us to pull data from almost any city in America.

“The State of Downtown report features an online dashboard to illustrate the significant progress Downtown Kansas City has achieved in our economy, housing,  development and quality of life sectors,” Dietrich said.

Orr’s announcement not only reflects the dynamic forward progress that is palpable in Downtown Kansas City, but also that is underscored by data (a broad sampling of public and private data sources) data that is now available to the DTC through statistical data that track key indicators, answer questions about city progress, and create reports that drive awareness and action.

“What is great about these reports is that once designed they automatically update as new data becomes available,” Dietrich explained. “Plus, you can continuously add new data sources for richer reports.”

Context for the State of Downtown report

The first edition of the State of Downtown report offers numerous insights and findings about Downtown Kansas City – both in relationship for the metropolitan area, as well as to peer cities across the nation.

Dietrich shared some of the highlights, along with his conclusions:

KC is a young Downtown, but appeals to all ages

The big story of the recent decade is that Millennials continue to seek experiential living and Downtown Kansas City, MO provides that in abundance. We see that more than 40 percent of the population living in Downtown KC is Millennial (roughly, ages 20-36), but that Gen X (ages 37-52) and Baby Boomers (53-71) regularly choose to live Downtown as well.

Some 41 percent of Downtown KC residents are Millennials – greater than in peer downtowns of Cincinnati, Louisville and San Antonio, and trailing Charlotte and Salt Lake City.

Downtown KC is diverse

According to the U.S Census Bureau, Downtown  Kansas City, is one of the most diverse areas in the region with over 53% per capita of its population being an ethnically diverse cross section of African American, Hispanic, Asian, Native American and those of mixed ancestry. This adds to the vibrancy and resilience of our downtown culture spurring greater diversity in development, retail, and restaurants.

When compared to the greater Kansas City, MSA, Downtown Kansas City is almost twice as diverse. This healthy mix of unique individuals creates the rich cultural experience that drives the vibrancy and resilience of our Downtown.  This Downtown truly is everybody’s neighborhood.

Affordable: Percent of income spent on housing and transportation

Downtown KC provides the lowest percent of income spent on housing and transportation at 41.8 percent – compared to the City of Kansas City, MO at 49 percent and the Kansas City Metropolitan Statistical Area at 51 percent. Among peer cities, KC proved to be one of the more affordable downtowns.

Economy: Job density

Downtown Kansas City has the highest density of jobs in the region. The Central Business District, for example, has a job density of nearly 100 jobs per acre. However, taken as a whole, there is still room to add more jobs to Downtown. And, when compared to peer cities, Greater Downtown KC sets in the middle at 30 jobs per acre.

Downtown Kansas City is the economic center of the region. It has the highest job density in the metropolitan area with more than 80,000 jobs. Employees in Downtown work across a wide variety of occupations collectively earning more than $3.5 billion in total annual wages.

“The State of Downtown report is an effective platform for telling the Downtown Kansas City story with facts, figures and reliable data,” Dietrich said. “Downtown is a satisfying place to work, thanks in part to the incredible retail districts and amenities enjoyed by residents, workers, and visitors alike.

“It’s no exaggeration to say Downtown Kansas City is the economic hub of the region.”



City Manager shares insights on Three Light, Loews hotel

The Three Light apartment project (center) is planned for the northeast corner of Truman Road and Main Street. A potential Four Light tower is depicted in background.

Courtesy of Kevin Collison – CityScene KC

City Manager Troy Schulte led a Downtown advocacy group on a wide-ranging review last week that included big announcements and updates regarding several major projects.

In a follow-up interview, Schulte said he told the KC Downtowners that an ordinance for Three Light, the latest high-rise apartment project planned by the Cordish Co., was introduced to the Kansas City Council the following day.

He also said the bonds for the 800-room Loews Kansas City Convention Hotel project were sold last week, the last major step to finance the $322.7 million project. Schulte described the sale as “very successful.”

Preliminary construction began on Monday of this week. The 24-story project is going up on Wyandotte Street across from the Bartle Hall Grand Ballroom. Completion is expected in March 2020.

The 300-unit Three Light tower is planned for the northeast corner of Truman Road and Main Street. The site is currently a parking lot and located along the streetcar route.

Nick Benjamin, executive director for the Cordish-owned Power & Light District, said if the City Council approves, construction is expected to begin on the $130 million project late this year with completion anticipated in early 2021.

The plan is scheduled for a hearing by the Council Economic Development Committee today.

Schulte said the city is obligated under its 2004 master development agreement with Cordish to build the parking garage for Three Light, estimated cost $17.5 million.

That contribution is offset somewhat, he said, by Cordish taking over maintenance and operating costs at the Three Light garage, and existing garages beneath the Kansas City Live block and the so-called Cosentino garage. Schulte said that’s expected to save the city $600,000 annually.

The city manager also said Cordish has agreed to make a 50 percent PILOT, or payment in lieu of taxes, on the additional property value of Three Light to the Kansas City Public School District, the public library and other taxing jurisdictions.

A similar arrangement was reached with those entities on the Two Light project.

The Three Light announcement closely follows the recent completion of Two Light, a $120 million, 296-unit apartment project at Truman Road and Baltimore. The 24-story tower is immediately east of the Three Light project, and just began leasing its units.

The first Cordish tower, One Light, was completed in November 2015 and was quickly leased. That $80 million, 25-story project is located at 13th and Walnut and has 315 apartments. A potential ‘Four Light’ apartment tower also is contemplated.

The apartment projects are included in the landmark  agreement reached in 2004 between Cordish and the city that covered an approximately eight-block, mostly blighted area of downtown. It included construction of the Power & Light District which began opening 10 years ago.

In a related matter, Schulte told the Downtowners that H&R Block is teaming up with Copaken Brooks and Cordish to pursue a potential office tower project on the block southwest of 13th and Main.

Block 124 currently includes the Yard House and other Power & Light tenants, but at the time of construction, a foundation was built that could support a potential, second H&R Block building above.

Schulte said H&R Block’s development rights to the site were recently extended to 2020.

“We need quality, Class A office space in downtown that could be done a little on speculation,” Schulte said. “We need to bring more job space to downtown.”

Schulte also told the Downtowners that a study group led by Cordish has been examining the possibility of building a deck over Interstate 670, the South Loop, that would extend four blocks from Grand to Wyandotte.

The concept has been contemplated for years as a way to reconnect downtown proper with the Crossroads Arts District. The city manager said he expects recommendations to be forthcoming sometime this year.

Cordish’s Benjamin declined to comment about the potential office building project and the I-670 deck study.

Schulte said he would like to see a major strategic study undertaken to help the city prioritize its spending similar to the two Sasaki studies of the last decade.

Big-ticket proposals currently on the table include removing the North Loop freeway, replacing the Broadway bridge, lowering the Missouri 9 highway viaduct and reconnecting Independence Avenue, and the potential I-670 deck.

Finally, the city manager is hopeful that a revamped financing plan for building the proposed UMKC Downtown Conservatory will be produced at some point.

The $96 million project is proposed for south of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts at 17th and Broadway.

The ambitious plan, which would bring 700 students and faculty downtown, suffered a crippling blow last June when Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens vetoed $48 million in state funding that was to have matched private money raised for the conservatory.

“A local group is trying to put plans together to build it without any state funds,” Schulte said. “I’m optimistic it will eventually come forward and there may be an even bigger development on the site.”

Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for the weekly CityScene KC email review here.

Downtown convention hotel to break ground next month

The Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel, KCMO’s first new convention hotel in over three decades, is expected to break ground in January 2018.

The long-anticipated convention center hotel in Downtown KC is set to open in March 2020, placing a modern, 23-story, 800-room luxury structure across from Bartle Hall.

Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel is due to break ground in January 2018. The project site is bounded by Truman Road on the north, Baltimore Avenue on the east, 16th Street on the south, and Wyandotte Street on the west and is located in within the Truman & Wyandotte Urban Renewal Area.

The $322 venture will feature an upscale restaurant, bar and lounge areas as well as associated retail. There also will be a two-story meeting space above three levels of parking, with an elevated walkway over Wyandotte Street that connects the hotel with the Bartle Hall Convention Center. The City of Kansas City, Missouri, is committed to this investment since it is expected to significantly increase economic development, in turn benefiting the entire city.

The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) and the Tax Increment Financing Commission (TIFC) recently granted Loews final approval for tax breaks for the project, which is being financed by a $110 million construction loan from Wells Fargo Bank, $79 million in revenue from bonds to be sold by the LCRA and the TIFC, and a $32 million bank loan secured by catering revenue. Private investors will contribute $59.6 million.

The City has committed $35 million in cash, which will be paid from the existing Convention & Tourism sales tax. The City also is contributing $7 million, which is the value of the land owned by City at the hotel site. The City has kept its promise to not commit or risk any General Fund revenues for this project.

The City’s website has been updated with additional information and documentation for those who want more details on the project.

Convention hotel wins key approvals; groundbreaking set

After seven years of discussion and planning, construction of a 24-story, 800-room Downtown convention hotel is expected to begin Jan. 2 following approvals of key documents Wednesday, according to today’s CitySceneKC.com.

A thick stack of financing and property transfer documents necessary for the $322.7 million Loews Kansas City Convention Center Hotel project was approved unanimously by the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) after three hours of deliberations.

“In my 20 years on the board, this is easily the most complicated project we’ve ever embraced,” said LCRA Chairman Steve Hamilton.

The new Loews will be the first major hotel built in Downtown Kansas City since the Vista International, now the Marriott opened in 1985, and is expected by Loews officials to make the city far more competitive in the convention market. It’s expected to be completed in March 2020.

Alexander Tisch, executive vice president of the New York-based Loews, said the project should allow Kansas City to compete for up to 200 more events than it could previously by offering the critical mass of downtown hotel rooms needed for major conventions.

“You have a vibrant downtown and first class convention center,” Tisch told the LCRA board, “but you need a four-star hotel to attract more convention business.”

The addition of the new hotel should allow Kansas City to compete with other convention destinations such as Indianapolis, Nashville and Austin, backers said. Its first major event already is scheduled for July 2020 when the Shriners International convention is expected to draw 20,000 participants.

The project also is expected to create 400 permanent jobs and another 1,500 construction jobs. Locally-based J.E. Dunn Construction is the contractor and Atlanta-based Cooper Carry is the architect.

To read the complete story, visit CitySceneKC.com.


KC voters overwhelmingly approve ‘A Better KCI’

Mayor Sly James embraces City Councilman Jermaine Reed in celebration of the overwhelming ‘Better KCI’ vote on Tuesday evening at a rally in Briarcliff.

Kansas City voters on Tuesday approved a $1 billion, single terminal at Kansas City International Airport with a whopping 75 percent of the vote.

This outcome frees the City of Kansas City to demolish KCI’s distinctive but outmoded trio of horseshoe-shaped terminals in favor of a single, privately financed $1 billion terminal that could be open by late 2021.

Passage of the ballot measure ends more than six years of study, false starts, political turbulence and disarray at City Hall, capped by a rocky selection process over the summer to finally choose a company to build the new terminal, reported The Kansas City Star

“When we get it right, there’s nothing we can’t do as a city,” Kansas City Mayor Sly James told a raucous pro-KCI election party last night at the Royal Room in Briarcliff.

With nearly all precincts reporting, supporters landed 47,394 votes, compared to 15,567 from the opposition. That works out to 75 percent voting in favor. Turnout was about 20 percent.

To read the complete story, visit The Kansas City Star 

Edgemoor reveals preliminary design for new KCI terminal

A new look for KCI: Edgemoor unveils preliminary designs for the new airport terminal to the City Council today.

A two-story fountain anchors the sleek, modern, initial design concepts unveiled to the City Council on Thursday by Edgemoor Infrastructure, the team recently selected as the preferred proposer for the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

Skidmore, Ownings & Merrill (SOM), an internationally-known architecture firm, has incorporated elements that reflect Kansas City’s cultural heritage into the preliminary design. The two-story fountain in the center of the terminal would include technology to project messages and colors on the cascading water to welcome travelers.

SOM’s Derek Moore presented the concepts to the City Council today (Thursday). Following a successful election on Nov. 7, the design team will discuss the concepts and collect feedback from Kansas City residents and airport users through a series of design open houses in each council district during November and December.

Convenience for travelers is a major element of the design as well. The design features close-in parking, and a two-level curbside pick-up and drop-off area which will be faster and more convenient for travelers. Also, waiting areas at each gate will have room for the increased number of passengers on today’s planes.

Edgemoor has also created a website  https://www.kci-edgemoor.com/  and Twitter account @Edgemoordevel to engage with the community and share information about the design and new terminal development project.

Financing for the new terminal will be paid back from airport revenues, and the city will continue to own and operate the airport. More information about the project is available on the city’s website at www.kcmo.gov/newkci.

For more information about the project, contact Chris Hernandez, City Communications Director, 816-513-3474 or chris.hernandez@kcmo.org.

ULI panel to study, advise on redevelopment north of Loop

An Urban Land Institute panel of nationally renowned experts on land use and urban planning will be in Downtown Kansas City this week to study and advise the City on strategies for redevelopment north of the Downtown Loop.


A group of nationally renowned land use and urban planning experts has been convened by the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to make recommendations to the City of Kansas City on the redevelopment of an area north of the Downtown “Loop” that includes decommissioning and reusing a portion of Interstate-70.

The panel, composed of land use professionals representing all aspects of urban design and urban development, was convened through ULI’s advisory services program. The panelists will be in Kansas City this week (today through Friday) to analyze local market conditions and provide recommendations for transforming the north section of the interstate into a high-impact development that will:

  1. Increase development density in Downtown,
  2. Generate property tax revenues,
  3. Improve land value,
  4. Boost employment,
  5. Catalyze development opportunities in adjacent communities.

The panel, which consists of leading ULI members from outside Kansas City, is building on work conducted by a panel of local ULI members in 2016.

In drafting its recommendations the panel will be considering such factors as:

  • The optimal use for the site considering the impact to the adjacent communities, Kansas City’s goals and vision for its future development, and the effects on transportation infrastructure;
  • Successful examples in other cities that involve greater benefits from reducing highway capacity rather than maintaining current roadway networks;
  • Examples of phasing the development;
  • The most effective mix of land uses (public, private, commercial and residential);
  • A recommended timeline for the development; and
  • Available funding mechanisms for all phases of the development process

During the week, the panelists will tour the study area and Kansas City and spend two days meeting and interviewing
stakeholders from the public and private sector. After carefully analyzing the site and completing the interviews, the
panelists will then frame their recommendations and draft a presentation that will be made to the public at the conclusion of the visit on Friday.

The ULI panel’s recommendations will be presented to the public from 9-11 a.m. Friday at the KCP&L Energy Center, 1200 Main St. Simply click here to RSVP for this free program.

ULI leader Glenda E. Hood, founding partner of triSect, LLC in Orlando, Fla., is the chairman of the advisory panel that will be visiting Kansas City. A former mayor of Orlando, Hood advocated thoughtful growth strategies in that city to create safe, livable neighborhoods, a revitalized Downtown and a strong local economy.

“We’re excited to bring ULI’s expertise to Kansas City,” Hood said. “We are aiming to demonstrate how the reuse of this area can contribute to the city’s overall economic prosperity, livability, investment appeal, and competitiveness.”

Hood will be joined by panelists Dean D. Bellas, president, Urban Analytics, Inc., Alexandria, Va.; Bill Clarke, planning consultant, Ross, Calif.; David Greensfelder, managing principal, Greensfelder Commercial Real Estate LLC, San Francisco, Calif.; April Anderson Lamoureux, president, Anderson Strategic Advisors, LLC, Boston, Mass.;
Todd Meyer, principal and director of planning and urban design, Forum Studio, Chicago, Ill.; Bill Rogalla, principal and director of acquisitions and dispositions, Zeller Realty Group, Chicago, Ill.; Adam Weers, principal, Trammell Crow Company, Washington, D.C., and John Paul Weesner, director of landscape architecture, Kittelson & Associates, Inc., Orlando, Fla.

Now in its 70th year, the ULI advisory services program assembles experts in the fields of real estate and land use planning to participate on panels worldwide, offering recommendations for complex planning and development projects, programs and policies. Panels have developed more than 700 studies for a broad range of land uses, ranging from waterfront properties to inner-city retail.

According to Thomas Eitler, senior vice president of ULI’s advisory services program, the strength of the program lies in ULI’s unique ability to draw on the substantial knowledge of its 40,000-plus members, including land developers, engineers public officials, academics, lenders, architects, planners and urban designers.

“The independent views of the panelists bring a fresh perspective to the land use challenge,” Eitler said. “The advisory services program is about offering creative, innovative approaches to community building.”

Past sponsors of ULI advisory service panels include: federal, state and local government agencies; regional councils of government; chambers of commerce; redevelopment authorities; private developers and property owners; community development corporations; lenders; historic preservation groups; non-profit community groups; environmental organizations and economic development agencies.