By Kevin Collison
Confluence, a River Market-based firm involved in several big downtown improvement plans, has acquired a Denver firm, expanding its office network to nine cities including Chicago and Minneapolis.
The landscape architecture firm headquartered at 417 Delaware has bought studioINSITE of Denver, bringing its total number of employees to more than 70, with 14 based in Kansas City and expectations of hiring more.
Chris Cline, senior principal and senior vice president at Confluence, said his firm is among the largest in the country when it comes to landscape architecture.
“We anticipate adding more landscape architects, urban designers and planners to our staff here in KC over the next few years as we continue to grow,” he said, “providing them with expanding opportunities to collaborate on projects across the country.”
“Our offices are well positioned,” he added. “Because of Covid, we’ve seen our parks and open spaces loved to death over the last nine months.
“I think there will be a commitment to reinvest in those amenities. I think there will be renewed interest and our landscape architects are positioned to take on additional work.”
Among the big local projects Confluence has been involved with are the Imagine Downtown KC 2030 Strategic Plan; the Beyond the Loop Study; the Walnut Street extension through the City Market; the KC Streetcar starter line and riverfront extension, and Barney Allis Plaza.
Cline said the planned extension of the streetcar to Berkley Riverfront Park, with hopes of extending it eventually to Casino KC, formerly the Isle of Capri, should open up substantial growth opportunities.
“There is a ton of development potential there,” he said, “and an opportunity to eventually extend over to the casino that will someday hopefully include a multi-modal transit center and park-n-ride facility in conjunction with the casino’s future renovation and redevelopment.”
Confluence led the urban design for the initial study of the Barney Allis Plaza that explored options and opportunities for replacing the existing garage and plaza space.
Its recommendation included replacing the existing structure with a smaller garage and building an at-grade park above it.
“This study effort led to the city selecting an owner’s representative team, and eventually issuing an RFP for design-build proposals,” Cline said.
The firm’s Denver acquisition, studioINSITE, work includes the redevelopment of 14th ‘Ambassador’ Street in Downtown Denver, the revitalization of Old Town Square in Fort Collins, and a master plan for Colorado’s newest state park, according to a press release.
“We see Denver as a vital hub for Confluence’s work across the Rocky Mountain Region, Western markets and beyond,” Cline said in a statement.
In addition to Denver, Chicago and Minneapolis, Confluence has offices in Omaha; Des Moines; Sioux Falls, SD; Fargo, ND, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa.
Cline said his firm is please to have been part of the revival of downtown Kansas City.
“This is my home town,” he said. “Seeing Kansas City transformed the way it has…it used to be at 5 p.m. you’d roll up the sidewalks and downtown was ghost town.
“It’s been a blessing to be part of downtown’s renaissance.”
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