Kansas City Riverfront Site
The Kansas City Riverfront Site, is located on the south bank of the Missouri River between the Kit Bond and Heart of America Bridges which serve as gateways to Downtown Kansas City from the north. The site, formerly occupied by a sand dredging operation, a concrete plant and other industrial uses, was acquired by the City of Kansas City Missouri in the late 1960’s as the anticipated home of a sports stadium planned to house the City’s baseball and football teams. A different site was ultimately chosen for what became the Truman Sports Complex and the Riverfront site became excess City property with less than optimal industrial uses. It became home to the City’s abandoned car tow lot, a construction debris landfill, and a sizeable homeless encampment. Over the course of several years, construction debris from several City demolition projects was dumped on the middle portion of the 55-acre site, while the tow lot occupied the eastern most portion of the 55-acre site. The underlying soils were also contaminated by the smear zone from an 1800’s pitch distillery that occupied the site in Kansas City’s early years. One of the few undeveloped riverfront sites in a major American city was reduced an environmentally contaminated debris filled wasteland.
With the coming of Riverfront Gaming in 1993, The Port Authority of Kansas City found a source of funds to begin development and cleanup of the Riverfront site. The plan was to use public infrastructure to seed private development. Under contract to the Port Authority, Taliaferro & Browne led the design of the $20 million Berkley Riverfront Park. The first phase of the project included the 3,550-foot Riverfront Drive to provide access to the I-29/I-35 Interchange, a new 1,300-foot Grand Avenue viaduct to improve access from Grand Boulevard, landscaping along the 4,500 feet of river frontage and a 20 Acre public park at the water’s edge. South of and adjacent to the park lies, a development parcel that is planned to contain up to 3.1 million square feet of commercial, office and residential development.
After completion of the park, the next task was clean up of the development site which would allow private development to follow. In 2001, the Port Authority undertook a construction project at a cost of approximately $2.5 million to remediate the construction debris and rubble that occupied the eastern portion of the 55-acre site. Taliaferro & Browne prepared plans and specifications and assisted the Port Authority in bidding the project to acquire the services of a construction contractor to excavate the construction debris, remove any environmentally objectionable material, separate and salvage steel reinforcing steel and crush concrete debris to a size that would be suitable for inclusion in the fill. The resulting remediated material was placed and compacted as an engineered fill. The western portion of the site contained construction debris, and an unreinforced concrete slab left from the old concrete plant operation. Additionally, significant amounts of environmentally sensitive material were present that required remediation in order for the site to be developed. Kingston Environmental was retained by the Port Authority to prepare an environmental remediation plan and T&B coordinated with Kingston to develop construction plans for the excavation necessary to complete the clean-up work and to re-grade the site. The construction debris and concrete slabs were excavated and processed using the procedure described above and the environmentally sensitive material was removed or capped with clean fill material. The west side remediation work was completed in 2006 at an approximate cost of $3 million. After years of reclamation and cleanup, the site is finally being developed with the first development project, the Union Berkley Park. The development will contain 198 luxury apartment units, 400 parking spaces in structured parking and 12,000 square feet of retail space.