KC Wheel on Course for November Opening at Pennway Point

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The 150-foot KC Wheel Ferris wheel is the centerpiece of the Pennway Point entertainment district now under construction.

By Kevin Collison

The frame has been completed on the 150-foot KC Wheel, the high-profile centerpiece of the Pennway Point entertainment district, and its builder anticipates it will be carrying riders by early November.

The attraction being built by Icon Experiences is part of an ambitious redevelopment plan by developer Vince Bryant to create an entertainment district from scratch alongside the West Pennway viaduct not far from Union Station.

The gritty, former six-acre industrial site, straddled by the Pennway and Interstate 35 viaducts, will not only be the location of KC Wheel, a mini-golf course and Wheel House cafe being built by Icon, but a host of other attractions as well.

The district involves the redevelopment of the 100-year-old Carter-Waters building and a  site that formerly was home to Pennway Oil Company.

Earlier this summer, Davinci KC announced two concepts called Talegate and Barrel Hall will be part of the district. Davinci was created by Bryant and Dante Passantino, and its operations will be led by Passantino and DJ Belfontean.

The Pennway Point entertainment district will occupy six acres near West Pennway and Pershing Road. (Rendering from 3D Development)

Barrel Hall will use a 6,000 square-foot reclaimed building as the central gathering space of Pennway Point and feature a taproom run by Boulevard Brewery; Würstl, a Viennese-style sausage stand; Chef J BBQ, and the Bull Creek Distillery.

The venue will seat 150 people inside and another 100 in the adjoining Smoke Shack, Chef J BBQ’s working smoke house, according to a press release.

Talegate is a 30,000 square-foot concept that will include three concepts to be operated and managed by Chuck and Jack Naylor of the Brooksider Sportsbar, and Harpo’s Columbia.

The Beef & Bottle will be an “elevated burger” concept with cocktails and a large selection of beers and wine. Upstairs will be Funk House, a sports bar with five VIP suites which will transition to a dance club during the weekends.

The adjoining Talegate Park will be home to the indoor/outdoor Brooksider Bar and will feature a central stage and screen. Programming will include live music, movie nights, game day experiences, yard games and winter ice skating.

The KC Wheel will feature climate-controlled gondolas for year-round operation.

In addition, Pennway Point will include a home for vintage neon signs that have been and collected and restored by LUMI, an organization led by Nick Vedros. The Lumi Neon Alley is described as a walkable connection between the other Pennway Point attractions.

The Davinci KC attractions are expected to open in early 2024.

As for The KC Wheel, it will operate year-round and its riders will will be enclosed in climate-controlled gondolas.

“The views will be stunning for those walking around the Crossroads District, driving down I-35 or from one of the many commercial or residential buildings in the area,” Curtis Parks, ICON managing partner, said in a statement.

Pennway Point will utilize the space beneath the two road viaducts to provide 350 parking spaces. Visitors also can park behind the Kansas City Ballet building and the Union Station garage is about two blocks away.

The operators estimate Pennway Point will attract 1.7 million visitors annually, with the KC Wheel providing rides to a half million people.

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