By Kevin Collison
The developer of a proposed River Market office project at Third and Grand has scrapped the idea of a separate garage and is now paying the KCATA for the option to develop the site.
Briarcliff Development is pursuing the 200,000 square-foot office project on the 1.8-acre parking lot owned by the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.
The KCATA chose Briarcliff to develop the site in 2015, and the firm is now paying the authority $80,000 per month for the development option.
“We’re excited,” said Dennis Hays, KCATA senior policy advisor. “The plan now calls for two office buildings atop a garage with 600 spaces.”
The decision to incorporate the parking beneath the office structures marks a shift.
Last year, the redevelopment plan called for building a separate, 900-space garage on property owned near First and Grand by the Veolia energy company. That concept also called for the office space to be 300,000 square feet.
But now Veolia is pursuing a separate development concept for the former coal yard that calls for apartments and/or a commercial project to be located there.
The KCATA would like to use that Veolia site for temporary parking whenever construction of its office project moves forward.
Richie Benninghoven, president of Briarcliff Development, said the development originally envisioned a garage beneath the offices and its return will be designed attractively.
The garage is being co-developed by the KCATA and the city. It will include 193 public parking spaces to replace those at the redevelopment site.
As for when work might begin, that depends on lining up an anchor tenant.
“We’re actively marketing it,” he said. “We’ve had a few prospects, but nothing has landed yet.”
Benninghoven is confident the project will land tenants because of its unique design and strategic location. The office building is expected to be built utilizing a timber frame.
It’s also located on the streetcar route and is easily accessible by commuters living in the Northland.
“We’re hoping the streetcar expansion to the riverfront will be beneficial too,” he said. “It would then be more on the line instead of the end of the line.”
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.