Pennway Point Proposal Would Add Ferris Wheel to Downtown

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A rendering of how the Pennway Point entertainment proposal looking south. (Rendering by 3D Development/Pixel Foundry)

(Editor’s note: This article originally was published March 16, 2022. This week, the developer filed a $3.9 million building permit with the city for “Ferris Wheel site with associated amenities.”

By Kevin Collison

An entertainment district at the south end of the Broadway viaduct that would include a 170-foot Ferris wheel, neon sign museum and food is the latest downtown proposal from developer Vince Bryant.

The “Pennway Point” proposal is in the early stage of planning and would include the renovation of the former Carter Waters industrial building at 2440 West Pennway and adjoining parking lots.

Bryant, who’s firm 3D Development is pursuing several other big projects in the nearby Freight House District as well as the renovation of the former Kansas City Star building, could not be reached for comment Tuesday, but released a statement.

“As with many of 3D’s projects, they are reimagining a very unique industrial collection of buildings into recreational park and gathering space that KC lacks,” according to the statement.

The proposed location of the Pennway Point development includes this parking lot and the former Carter Waters building shown at upper right along the West Pennway viaduct.

The Pennway Point project also would be a trailhead for another venture being pursued by Bryant called the Greenline Trail. The proposed bicycling and pedestrian recreational trail would circle greater downtown.

Elements of the Pennway Point concept include:

–A 170-foot tall Ferris wheel with heated and cooled gondolas that would be operated year-round by a separate firm, Icon Experiences. Icon also is proposing an outdoor miniature golf course as part of the project.

–A home for the LUMI neon indoor and outdoor museum being pursued by Nick Vedros.

–A “tailgate park” with yard games.

–Redevelopment of the 100 year-old former Carter Waters building into a mixed-use space that could include a restaurant and a rooftop indoor/outdoor patio.

A future phase could include a new, 28,000 square-foot building with residential units and first floor retail; a brewery, tasting room and covered beer garden, and a “burger joint” in a renovated 1908 brick depot building with lounge areas, live music stage and billiards.

A preliminary application with the City Planning Department estimated the first phase cost of Pennway Point at $25.3 million.

A “Ferris wheel” view of the Pennway Point development looking north toward downtown. (Rendering by 3D Development/Pixel Foundry)

The proposed six-acre development site would be located directly across West Pennway from the massive IRS Processing Center and about three blocks east of the Boulevard Brewery complex and its Beer Hall. It also would be close to Union Station.

A virtual “flyover” of the proposal can be viewed here.

Pennway Point is one of several development proposals in the Crossroads vicinity being pursued by 3D Development.

The other planned redevelopments are:

–Freight House Village, a 230-unit residential plan at 20th and Walnut, and the renovation of the former Superior Storage buildings at 2020 Walnut into office space.

-The Podium office and hotel tower near 20th and Main.

–The Village Square mixed-use redevelopment at 19th and Walnut.

Work on another major project, the $95 million renovation of the former Kansas City Star building into a mixed-use project called “Grand Place” has been suspended the past couple years after interior demolition work was completed.

Bryant also won incentive approval for the 193-unit Tracks apartment project at 22nd and Fort Scott Street, but its now being built by Milhaus, an Indianapolis-based apartment developer.

He successfully redeveloped the 10-story Corrigan Station building at 18th and Walnut into office space in a partnership with Copaken Brooks. That $41 million project opened in 2016. He also partnered with Copaken on a new, $11 million office annex to Corrigan.

His other previous Crossroads projects were the redevelopment of the historic Candle Building at 2101 Broadway and the historic Creamery Building at 2100 Central.

Nick Vedros, the founder of the LUMI neon museum, said he was confident 3D Development will be able to follow through on its Pennway Point plan.

“We feel pretty good about it and it’s going to happen,” he said.

Eli Stovall, managing partner of Icon Experiences, said his firm is looking to bringing its Ferris wheel-based entertainment concept in Kansas City. It operates similar concepts at St. Louis Union Station and National Harbor near Washington D.C.

“We think the entertainment experience we develop and operate is a natural fit,” he said. “We’re excited to work with Vince and the 3D team.”

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