Riverfront Developments Gathering Momentum

Bar K Dog Bar, a dog park, bar and coffeehouse hybrid, officially opened this week on the western edge of the Berkley Riverfront Park. It is among three new developments hitting the area within three years–Union Berkley Riverfront luxury apartments opened in May, adding 407 apartments to the area, and KC Core, an extension of the KC streetcar, is projected to launch by 2021.

Although the Riverfront is developing and drawing Kansas Citians to the south bank of the Missouri River, the area long lacked critical mass. That may be changing.

Downtown Kansas City redevelopment efforts have been in full force for nearly 20 years, and revitalizing the Riverfront district is considered a vital step to ensure the entire Downtown area is cohesive. Port KC, a political subdivision, is dedicated to moving the Riverfront forward. “Port KC has invested heavily in bringing active lifestyle amenities common in our peer city downtown areas but previously missing in Kansas City,” said Port KC’s interim president, and CEO Zoraya Rowlands.

“Berkley Riverfront is the front door to the Greater Downtown area,” says Port KC Vice President Joe Perry. “This is one of the last great opportunities to build on a waterfront greenfield site of this scale.  That is why we are dedicated to building the Streetcar extension, KC CORE (Connecting our Riverfront for Everyone), on or before 2021 and solidly reconnecting Downtown to the Riverfront.”  

While new developments are materializing, there have also been discussions about alternatives to three major sections of highway in the area: the Buck O’Neil Memorial Bridge, the north portion of the Downtown freeway loop, and the elevated I-70 lanes in Downtown Kansas City, Kan.   “Beyond the Loop” was established to study ways to improve these sections of infrastructure, and examine their possible removal. According to BikeWalkKC, if these pieces of highway are completely removed, there will be improved walkability, more development potential, and possibly even a new elevated biking trail.