Barney Allis Plaza Rebuild Estimate $61.7M, Anticipated Completion Fall 2022

Barney Allis Plaza and its underground garage opened in 1955 and is considered in poor condition by professionals and the public alike. (Photo courtesy Jacia Phillips | Arch Photo KC)

By Kevin Collison

The city review for rebuilding Barney Allis Plaza and its underground garage tentatively has chosen a $61.7 million option that would lower the plaza to street level and build a 400-space garage beneath it.

William Crandall of CBC Real Estate Group, the managing principal hired by the city for the proposed reconstruction, told the Downtown Council last week that advocates would like to have the work completed by October 2022.

The proposed reconstruction of the 1950s downtown landmark still is undergoing a public comment process, and the Kansas City Council has yet to sign off on moving forward with a project or identified funding.

Last month, Mayor Quinton Lucas said the Council would like to have a solid proposal to consider by this summer.

The plaza and garage were built in 1955 to serve Municipal Auditorium and it was upgraded in 1985. In recent years, the lower levels of the 980-space underground garage have been closed because of significant deterioration to the structure.

The lower one-third of the garage already is shut down because of its advanced deterioration.

In a separate report to the Downtown Council, Crandall estimated it would cost $40 million to repair the existing garage over the next 10 years or $30 million to demolish it.

Barney Allis Plaza was described in a 2018 report by the Urban Land Institute as an unwelcoming place.

“We’re still lobbying the City Council to fund a continued study and ultimately a final project,” Crandall told the group.

“They (Council members) don’t have a choice. Maybe to wait, but this will fall in ultimately.”

The $61.7 million price tag for what was described as “Scenario C” does not include the cost of a companion plan to build a separate 400-space garage on property the city recently purchase at 12th and Broadway.

A proposed 1200 Broadway garage would cost an estimated $12 million, but advocates say it would be a significantly less expensive option than if all the current 980 spaces below Barney Allis Plaza were replaced.

Kansas City Southern also has expressed an interest in participating in a 1200 Broadway garage. The firm is next door to the site, and a representative has said it could fit into potential expansion plans for the company.

Crandall said supporters of rebuilding Barney Allis Plaza would like to have the project completed in time to welcome two, key upcoming events: the November 2022 League of Cities convention and the 2023 NFL Draft.

(Editor’s note: Beginning in December 2019, CityScene KC has become a paid subscription publication)

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


  1. Glad to see progress on this and excited to see the final plan! Hoping to see the Plaza become a much-needed green space downtown.

    I think the future success of this–in terms of actual usage of the space–is going to be contingent on there being adequate street-level commercial space, of which the area is still mostly lacking. (I’m looking at you Burns & McDonnell… the Waddell and Reed building NEEDS street-level space for businesses)

Comments are closed.