By Kevin Collison
Developer Vince Bryant intends to launch his ambitious redevelopment plan for the Freight House District by renovating the former Superior Moving & Storage buildings at 2020 Walnut into office space.
Bryant also is planning a separate project, called “Podium on Main” that calls for building 200,000 square feet of new office space along with a 120-room hotel along Main.
Earlier this month, Bryant’s firm 3D Development won City Council approval for a general development plan that covers 11.6 acres along the north side of the Kansas City Terminal tracks roughly from Central Street to Grand Boulevard.
The area currently is a gritty mix of vacant and/or underused industrial buildings, street viaducts, railroad right-of-way and parking lots, but also includes the thriving historic Freight House building and its three restaurants.
What’s called the Freight House PIEA General Development Plan has few details, but overall it calls for a phased, mixed-use development that would include renovation projects, new construction and a garage.
When fully built out, the estimated value of the investment could reach $350 million, according to a report prepared for the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority.
In order to speed the process, Bryant obtained PIEA and then Council approval to have the entire area declared underutilized, clearing the way for the anticipated use of tax incentives.
He then plans to return to the city for consideration of individual components of his plan.
“We’re very happy and excited to be working with the PIEA on this development district,” Bryant said. “The benefit of creating the district is so each of the eight or nine projects don’t have to seek (underutilized) approval.”
One of the the first projects he plans to pursue is the renovation of the old Superior buildings into a 70,000 square-foot office project. A redevelopment plan is expected to be introduced to the PIEA by March, and construction could begin before the end of 2020.
As for the Podium office building and hotel, Bryant declined to offer more details other than to say it would be new construction along Main.
Bryant already has another large project in the works for the west end of the Freight House Development District.
Last spring, he introduced a $95 million apartment proposal called Tracks 215 for a parking lot just west of the historic Freight House building. The City Council approved amending a tax-increment financing plan to help fund a garage for the 250-unit project in June.
That plan, which calls for eight stories of apartments above a four-level garage, also anticipates seeking property tax abatements from the PIEA.
Bryant has had extensive experience redeveloping in the Crossroads.
He renovated the historic Candle Building at 2101 Broadway and Creamery Building at 2100 Central. Bryant also is redeveloping the historic, former Kansas City Star building and was a partner in the redevelopment of Corrigan Station.
As part of his Freight House redevelopment concept, the developer also is proposing a Greenline recreational trail around downtown that would incorporate part of the railroad right-of-way as well as existing boulevards and trails.
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