Grand Place to com­bine old, new in $95M Cross­roads Arts District project

The Kansas City Star - - Business - BY MARK DAVIS mdavis@kc­star.com

More than a cen­tury sep­a­rates the de­signs be­hind the new and old el­e­ments of Vince Bryant’s $95 mil­lion Cross­roads Arts District project. Each plays with light, but in con­trast­ing ways.

New con­struc­tion at Grand Place will fea­ture a three-story food hall en­cased in glass and twin mar­ket pavil­ions draped in broad me­tal rib­bons.

Bryant also is restor­ing the his­toric for­mer home of The Kansas City Star de­signed by Chicago ar­chi­tect Jarvis Hunt. Tall win­dows line nearly ev­ery wall of the two brick be­he­moths at 18th Street and Grand Boule­vard. Hunt opened rooftops with mas­sive sky­lights — in­clud­ing one over the sec­ond-floor news­room, which was in a three-story build­ing.

“They re­ally de­signed this, Jarvis Hunt did, to try and get nat­u­ral light in ev­ery­where he could,” Bryant said dur­ing an ex­clu­sive tour with The Star.

Bryant’s de­vel­op­ment, which he hopes to open in 2020, promises to bring of­fices, gro­ceries, a data cen­ter, pub­lic assem­bly area, rooftop pa­tio, pent­house of­fices and more than 500 un­der­ground park­ing spa­ces to the neigh­bor­hood. One of its first ten­ants could be a bar fea­tur­ing vol­ley­ball, ping-pong and other games.

“We be­lieve there needs to be a gro­cery store in the Cross­roads,” Bryant said.

CROSS­ROADS GRO­CERY

A vir­tual tour shows Bryant’s Grand Mar­ket pavil­ions on the Grand Boule­vard side of the prop­erty. A cen­tral court­yard di­vides the pavil­ions and ex­tends to the main en­try of the food hall.

“In­side are food ven­dors, with sky­lights and views up to see the his­toric Kansas City Star build­ing,” said Rick Sch­lad­weiler, de­sign di­rec­tor for Hol­lis + Miller Ar­chi­tects, which is work­ing with Bryant.

The glass pav­il­ion walls can be opened and sev­eral sky­lights pierce the roof. Over them, strik­ing per­fo­rated steel rib­bons pro­vide shade.

Re­tractable can­vas awnings cover the court­yard be­tween the pavil­ions, al­low­ing it to be en­closed and heated in win­ter for all-year use, Bryant said.

The food hall opens to a 25-foot height with two mez­za­nines — one with of­fices and one for din­ing — on op­po­site sides of the spa­cious room. The third floor con­tains more of­fices.

Ven­dors will of­fer pre­pared meals and kits to pre­pare meals at home. There will be space ded­i­cated to what Bryant called a “bou­tique gro­cery,” such as a staffed meat counter along with pro­duce, dairy and pack­aged goods such as toi­letries.

HID­DEN SKY­LIGHTS

The Star’s for­mer home came to life when elec­tric­ity was a new and un­re­li­able re­source. But much of Hunt’s work with light had been ob­scured or even oblit­er­ated through decades of changes.

The Star sold the prop­erty in 2017 and moved to its nearby Press Pav­il­ion on McGee Street this sum­mer.

From 1910 draw­ings, Bryant learned that a long-for­got­ten atrium sky­light had once capped the short brick al­ley­way struc­ture con­nect­ing the west and east build­ings.

An­other sur­prise came when Bryant found that old news­room sky­light.

The sky­light orig­i­nally above the sec­ond-floor news­room had been moved to the roof line and the third floor filled in be­neath it. Bryant plans to keep the sky­light where he found it, but he likely will have to re­place the glass.

He also will have to re­build the large sky­light that orig­i­nally capped the eastern build­ing where The Star’s presses had op­er­ated. On sunny days, the new sky­light will pour light into the large space be­low.

“We’re ac­tu­ally go­ing to have to put frit­ting in the glass just so it’s not too in­tense,” Bryant said.

The rooftop of each his­toric build­ing also has a win­dow-lined room that once served as the base for a ra­dio tower, used when The Star owned WDAF. Bryant plans to turn the rooms into pent­houses for the build­ings’ third-floor of­fices, with spi­ral stair­cases to a 360de­gree view of the city.

“They’ll have their own pri­vate 1,200-square-foot rooftop pa­tios, and that will look down on our com­mon 5,000-square­foot rooftop pa­tio,” he said.

To make it all work, Bryant’s group is seek­ing $39.5 mil­lion in tax in­cen­tives based partly on the project’s jobs and eco­nomic im­pact.

Bryant said the fully leased prop­er­ties would gen­er­ate “a cou­ple hun­dred thou­sand” dol­lars in prop­erty taxes each year. That’s with tax abate­ment re­duc­ing the an­nual tax by 75 per­cent dur­ing the first 15 years and by 50 per­cent in the sub­se­quent five years.

“It’s a big project, so that’s a big num­ber,” Bryant said.

‘‘ IN­SIDE ARE FOOD VEN­DORS, WITH SKY­LIGHTS AND VIEWS UP TO SEE THE HIS­TORIC KANSAS CITY STAR BUILD­ING. Rick Sch­lad­weiler, de­sign di­rec­tor for Hol­lis + Miller Ar­chi­tects

Ren­der­ings from Hol­lis + Miller Ar­chi­tects

New con­struc­tion of a food hall and twin pavil­ions at 18th and Grand will bring gro­ceries and more than 500 un­der­ground park­ing spa­ces to Kansas City’s Cross­roads Arts District.

A new food hall planned for Grand Place will con­trast with the his­toric home of The Kansas City Star in ap­pear­ance and how it cap­tures nat­u­ral light for oc­cu­pants.

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