By Kevin Collison
The KCATA is requesting proposals for its former transit center property at 10th and Main, including a potential new office building to house its headquarters and other tenants.
The agency is seeking proposals that call for a transportation-oriented development (TOD) and would occupy about two-thirds of the approximately 1/2-acre site in the heart of downtown.
About one-third of the property would be reserved for public and green space, and any proposal would be required to retain the landmark fountain located there.
The request for proposals (RFP) issued by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority wants responses with a “creative approach to improve transit, connectivity, investment in development and quality of life,” and specifically describes a potential office project.
It suggests a “Regional Transit Authority Headquarters” of about 30,000 square-feet that would include ground level commercial space and the potential development of an additional two- to three floors for office, retail or other uses.
“Proposals are strongly encouraged to think beyond traditional development of this site… that may include residential, office, commercial, aground floor commercial and activate green space and roof deck for creating public space and access,” according to the RFP.
The deadline for responses to the RFP is mid-October.
The 10th and Main transit center closed a year ago after the KCATA opened its new transit center in the East Village redevelopment area at 12th and Charlotte.
When the KCATA first announced it was relocating the transit center four years ago, some downtown advocates lobbied for the location to become a park, citing its proximity to several residential buildings in the Library District.
Brien Starner, president of RideKC Development Corp., the development arm of the KCATA, said site could not be converted to a park without violating federal transportation regulations.
There is a separate agreement however, governing the William T. and Charlotte Kemper Memorial Fountain.
“The fountain will stay and go along with the development in perpetuity,” Starner said.
The potential relocation of the KCATA offices from its current address at 1200 E. 18th St. is part of a larger strategic real estate plan by the agency, under the direction of Robbie Makinen, president and CEO.
The agency controls approximately 18 acres along East 18th Street including its offices, maintenance barn and vacant land. It’s located between the East Crossroads and 18th & Vine District.
Makinen has said he’d like to make it to make it available for other long-term development.
The KCATA already is in discussions with backers of the proposed Keystone Innovation District who would like to build an office project for their initiative on property the agency owns at 18th and Troost.
The KCATA property along East 18th near Troost also has been suggested as potential downtown ballpark site.
“As we look at future development, it’s coming at us from all sides,” Starner said.
“My role is to try to strategically position ourselves in how we utilize our real estate.”
Liam Dai contributed to this report
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I’d like to see something truly urban there, like a little clustering of bodegas that sold magazines, coffee, some fresh produce, and beautify the area a little by making the rest of it a little parklet. I think there are enough residents and daytime businesses there that could support something like that, particularly if it also a transit hub. But pretty much anything is better than what’s there now, which is nothing.
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