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Unread 2019-06-27, 08:57 PM   #1
JDLM
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Default 'Local and authentic': Bridge transformation aims to unite Kansas City(s) [RENDERINGS

Michael Zeller, a partner at Flying Truss LLC, noticed the Kaw River Bridge on a boating excursion 10 years ago. Now, he's leading the project to transform the abandoned bridge into a destination fit for the big screen at Kansas City Chiefs games.


"This holds the potential to become part of the Kansas City metro's iconography," Zeller said. "It says something about who we are and our origins as a river city."
A partnership between Kansas City, Mo., Kansas City, Kan., and Flying Truss LLC will turn the bridge built in 1905 into a "creative crossing." Known as the Rock Island Bridge project, the transformation includes a six-kitchen food hall, event spaces, and pedestrian and bike trails. The two-phase construction process is anticipated to begin in September, with a total estimated cost of $5.8 million.
Flying Truss secured a 25-year lease of the bridge from the city of Kansas City in 2016. The deal included a four-year due-diligence period and an option for a 25-year renewal. Zeller said the company will invest $500,000 during phase one for business startup costs. It plans to raise an additional $3 million in private funds for phase two.
Phase one also includes a $2.3 million bond, which covers the public trail, a lighted parking lots and the following amenities:
  • ADA-compliant ramps and stairs at both ends
  • Cantilevers for the new 700-foot steel and concrete trail
  • Lighting and native plantings
  • Water and toilets
Next summer, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin construction to raise area levees — including those by the bridge — by 3 feet. Levee updates should not affect the development or use of the bridge, said David Alvey, mayor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kan.




Once construction begins, phase one would be complete within four to six months. Phase two is expected to begin during the trail's third year and include larger cantilevers and additional services.


"The first phase really is to get people down here moving across the bridge and enjoying the space," Alvey said. "We believe that will just drive even greater demand for development."


Zeller plans to undertake an intensive program to draw people to the structure, including bubble- and kite-making activities, morning yoga and a Fourth of July fireworks display. A rent-friendly event space would allow weddings or charitable events to take place on the bridge, as well.
But it doesn't stop there. Zeller said he hopes the bridge catalyzes riverfront development, similar to what First Fridays did for the Crossroads Arts District. Additionally, the bridge will unite Kansans and Missourians organically.
"(People) want to come back to the center of nature. They really want to come back to the center of Kansas City. They want to come back to the center of our history," Alvey said. "This is where so much of that can happen."
The bridge hasn't been used since Kansas City, Mo., bought it during the acquisition of the former Kemper Arena back in the early 1970s.


Alvey said the Unified Government plans to bring forward a bond proposal in August. He said phase one of the bridge transformation will begin once the bond proposal is approved.


"People are hungry for authentic things," Zeller said. "There are few things in Kansas City more authentically Kansas City than a 1905 railroad bridge in the heart of the Stockyard's district, over a river."
Here's a look at some of renderings of the proposed project:
Bridging communities together



The Rock Island Bridge project aims to connect both sides of the state line with a six-kitchen food hall and trails.


https://rockislandbridgeproject.org/

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Unread 2019-06-27, 09:01 PM   #2
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5 questions about KC’s proposed food hall on an abandoned river bridge

There’s no question that a developer’s plan to turn a forgotten railroad bridge into the city’s next food hall and entertainment venue is a unique one.


Flying Truss LLC, the company behind the proposal to redevelop the Rock Island Bridge over the Kansas River, looked far and wide for a similar project to base its plan on. The only example they could find was in South Korea, where a historic railroad bridge was rehabilitated into a pedestrian walkway with a museum, rest area and cafe.
Many cities across the United States have transformed old railroad or auto bridges into pedestrian spans.
“But no one has created new, programmable real estate on a steel bridge that we’ve been able to find,” said Flying Truss Partner Michael Zeller. “We’re taking it to a new level.”


Given its unique nature, it’s understandable that Kansas Citians have questions.
While government leaders and neighbors cheer on the effort as a major boon to economic development, entertainment and recreation, others are asking just exactly how it would work.
Here, The Star answers some basic questions about the proposal that have popped up on social media:
Q. Wait, what bridge are we talking about?
A. Flying Truss has secured a 25-year lease on the Rock Island Bridge, also known as the Kaw River Bridge. It spans the Kansas River, beginning in Amourdale in the west and landing on the far eastern edge of Kansas near State Line Road in the West Bottoms.
The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway opened the 702-foot bridge in 1905. But after the need to carry livestock to the stockyards dissipated, the railroad stopped using the bridge and it has been idled since the early 1970s. While it begins and ends in Kansas, the city of Kansas City, Missouri, actually owns the structure. City leaders purchased it from the railroad to acquire parking for Kemper Arena.
It has sat unused for decades.
Q. Is it structurally sound?
A. The bridge looks like a rusty urban ruin. But its bones remain strong, Zeller said.
As part of a feasibility study funded by the Mid-America Regional Council, engineers with TranSystems completed an in-depth examination of the bridge in 2017, concluding the bridge can safely support the proposed pedestrian walkway.
Zeller said the bridge needs about $60,000 to $70,0000 in deferred maintenance repairs, but noted it will carry a much lighter load than the cattle-filled locomotives it was designed to support. And because the bridge never carried cars and trucks, it was never salted in the winters, preventing deterioration of the metal structure.


“It’s a battleship,” he said.
Q. Is there a risk of people jumping into the water?


A. Zeller says the bridge will exceed safety requirements for railings to keep people out of the water. Plus, he noted there’s similar risk of people jumping from apartment balconies or rooftop patios — neither of which stops development of those amenities.
While the bridge will be open to pedestrians, runners and cyclists throughout the day, it will be locked up at night from both sides of the river to keep out trespassers.
And the bridge sits high enough to protect visitors from routine flooding: “The bridge is higher than the levee, so the whole valley would have to flood,” Zeller said.
Q. When will this thing actually happen?


A. Zeller hopes to begin work as soon as this fall.
The project is seeking incentives from the United Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas. Katherine Carttar, director of economic development for the Unified Government, said officials were considering Tax Increment Financing and Community Improvement District funding for the project. She said commissioners would likely see a formal proposal by the end of the summer or fall.
Once crews break ground, Zeller said the first phase of construction should move quickly. He expects to spend about $2.3 million building restrooms and parking on the east side of the river, new lighting, a concrete path spanning the bridge and an open-air bar over the river.
For now, the project will start with food trucks on the riverbank but plans call for eventually expanding the width of the bridge over the water and adding a six-restaurant food hall.
“Phase one is not a massive construction project,” he said. “We’re working toward a ribbon cutting for the Fourth of July, 2020.”


Q. What about the smell of the river?


A. Zeller dismissed comments about the odor on the river. With high waters and swiftly moving debris this week, the quickly moving current carried debris and a strong scent. But he said the setting would prove more pleasant when the river gets back to normal levels.
“That just comes and goes with the flooding,” Zeller said.
While people pick apart the details of the proposal, Zeller doesn’t want to lose focus on the big picture here. He, along with leaders in both Kansas and Missouri, view this as a catalyst of sorts, a project that can connect the two states, spur more development on both sides of the river and connect locals back to the river system.


“This is a platform from which the whole city will be able to see the river and linger and enjoy it,” he said. “I think that’s important — and to develop ideas and plans for how to engage the whole river valley from canoeing and kayaking to biking, fishing, residential condominiums, heck maybe even zip lines. It’s very much the beginning.”

Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/busi...#storylink=cpy


Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/busi...#storylink=cpy


Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/busi...#storylink=cpy







There’s no question that a developer’s plan to turn a forgotten railroad bridge into the city’s next food hall and entertainment venue is a unique one.


Flying Truss LLC, the company behind the proposal to redevelop the Rock Island Bridge over the Kansas River, looked far and wide for a similar project to base its plan on. The only example they could find was in South Korea, where a historic railroad bridge was rehabilitated into a pedestrian walkway with a museum, rest area and cafe.
Many cities across the United States have transformed old railroad or auto bridges into pedestrian spans.
“But no one has created new, programmable real estate on a steel bridge that we’ve been able to find,” said Flying Truss Partner Michael Zeller. “We’re taking it to a new level.”

Read more here: https://www.kansascity.com/news/busi...ink=cpyThere’s no question that a developer’s plan to turn a forgotten railroad bridge into the city’s next food hall and entertainment venue is a unique one.


Flying Truss LLC, the company behind the proposal to redevelop the Rock Island Bridge over the Kansas River, looked far and wide for a similar project to base its plan on. The only example they could find was in South Korea, where a historic railroad bridge was rehabilitated into a pedestrian walkway with a museum, rest area and cafe.
Many cities across the United States have transformed old railroad or auto bridges into pedestrian spans.
“But no one has created new, programmable real estate on a steel bridge that we’ve been able to find,” said Flying Truss Partner Michael Zeller. “We’re taking it to a new level.”
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Unread 2019-06-27, 09:03 PM   #3
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KC’s next food hall and events venue could be on a rusty, abandoned river bridge



Michael Zeller believes a rusty, forgotten bridge might just become one of Kansas City’s marquee destinations.


Zeller is a partner at Flying Truss LLC, a local company working to reclaim the 702-foot Rock Island Bridge, which spans the Kansas River near Hy-Vee Arena in the West Bottoms.
Flying Truss plans to eventually open a bar, food hall and events venue on the bridge. Zeller said the project will offer a one-of-a-kind entertainment and recreation experience, while also drawing attention to the city’s river system.
“In Kansas City, we don’t really see our rivers,” he said. “We kind of see them out of the corner of our eye when we’re blasting over the overpass. But people are going to come out here and listen to a band and have dinner and drinks for three hours over the river.”


While developers plan to remove the rotted railroad ties and clean up some of the accumulated graffiti, Zeller said they won’t change the rusty patina of the bridge, which the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railway built in 1905.
“This is going to be a funky environment,” Zeller said. “The whole vibe is kind of a cross of Austin, Texas, meets Knuckleheads.”
Though the bridge begins and ends in Kansas, it’s owned by Kansas City, Missouri, a remnant of a long-ago city purchase from the railroad to acquire parking near Kemper Arena, which has been redeveloped and now is called Hy-Vee Arena. That odd arrangement has pushed developers to work with city leaders on both sides of the state line.
“They’re working really nicely together,” Zeller said.
Katherine Carttar, director of economic development for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County/ Kansas City, Kansas, said redevelopment of the bridge will connect pedestrians, runners and cyclists with new trails on the Kansas side of the river to the West Bottoms in Missouri.


But more broadly, she said the project will serve as a catalyst for future development along the river.
“It’s an incredibly unique vision,” Carttar said. “This is something that’s one of a kind — certainly in the country and possibly the world — that really has a different ability to connect both of our cities and put something that’s sitting there kind of forgotten to a new and innovative use.”
Zeller projects the first phase of redevelopment will cost about $2.3 million. That will include restrooms and parking on the east side of the river, new lighting, a concrete path spanning the bridge and an open-air bar over the river. He expects the first phase to be completed as early as next summer.
For now, the project will start with food trucks on the riverbank but plans call for eventually expanding the width of the bridge over the water and adding a six-restaurant food hall.
Zeller said engineers have examined the bridge and determined it to be structurally sound. Because the bridge did not carry cars and trucks, it was never salted in the winters, avoiding deterioration of the metal structure.
“It’s a battleship,” he said. “This bridge was designed to carry locomotives.”




The Unified Government is considering offering incentives, possibly through Tax Increment Financing and Community Improvement District funding. Carttar said commissioners would likely see a proposal by the end of the summer or fall.
While officials in Kansas work to encourage the development, leaders in Missouri also see potential.


“This could be a real game changer for the Stockyards District and the West Bottoms,” said Bruce Holloway, vice president and board member of the Historic West Bottoms Association. “I think it could be catalytic. It could be really important if everything really falls into place. It kind of all depends on getting the two cities to work together.”
Holloway said much of Kansas City’s river systems are inaccessible because of railroad systems, public infrastructure and industrial development. But he said the Kansas River has potential for future development to bring business and recreation to the waterway.
“There are some real opportunities,” he said. “People really buy into the idea. Everybody loves to be by the river.”
Kansas City, Missouri, has agreed to lease the bridge for $9,000 per year for 25 years. Flying Truss has the option to renew the lease for 25 more years.


“The West Bottoms was one of Kansas City’s first neighborhoods, and projects like this one will continue to revitalize the area for a new century,” said city spokesperson Chris Hernandez. “It’s great to see new and redeveloped apartments, businesses, restaurants and nightlife filling the neighborhood. This public-private partnership demonstrates our collaboration with the Unified Government and the developers who will invest private dollars.”
Even as he envisions a lively lineup of weddings, concerts and beer festivals on the bridge, Zeller said nothing about the future phases of redevelopment is rigid.
“This arrangement will be in place for 50 years,” he said. “And I expect the bridge to continually evolve.”







Michael Zeller believes a rusty, forgotten bridge might just become one of Kansas City’s marquee destinations.


Zeller is a partner at Flying Truss LLC, a local company working to reclaim the 702-foot Rock Island Bridge, which spans the Kansas River near Hy-Vee Arena in the West Bottoms.
Flying Truss plans to eventually open a bar, food hall and events venue on the bridge. Zeller said the project will offer a one-of-a-kind entertainment and recreation experience, while also drawing attention to the city’s river system.
“In Kansas City, we don’t really see our rivers,” he said. “We kind of see them out of the corner of our eye when we’re blasting over the overpass. But people are going to come out here and listen to a band and have dinner and drinks for three hours over the river.”


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Unread 2019-06-30, 06:50 PM   #4
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Interesting idea.
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Unread 2019-08-28, 09:39 PM   #5
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Default Bridge Idea

About 30 years ago a KCK resident proposed almost the same idea. On the same bridge. This when the KC Comets were hot at Kemper. Him & his wife saw a "glass" bridge, in Venice, with small shops on it. He got a few days press in the local papers and that was it.

I've seen so many proposals for ideas in KCK, I don't believe them until they open the doors.

As for an entertainment venue, that bridge isn't very wide.

Just have to wait and see.
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