For puppies scared by severe storms overnight, finally some good news: A new dog park is on its way to downtown Kansas City.
The Port Authority of Kansas City, or Port KC, announced Thursday that it plans to lease two acres on the western edge of Berkley Riverfront Park to a new business planning to build a dog park, complete with a bar and restaurant on the premises.
Bear Bishop LLC, a development venture co-managed by local businessmen Leib Dodell and David Hensley, plans to open Bar K, pending city approval.
Downtown has a city-owned dog park at Penn Valley Park and a smaller, private dog park near the Cold Storage Lofts in the River Market.
“The difference with ours is it will be fully staffed,” said Dodell. “The idea is to build a bar, restaurant and coffee shop.”
The two acres that Bar K will occupy are currently vacant, undeveloped terrain partly underneath the Heart of America Bridge that connects downtown to North Kansas City.
“There are very few other business models that would have worked” for the site, Dodell said. “For us, it couldn’t be more perfect.”
Dodell plans to build the restaurant concept out of shipping containers, in keeping with the industrial feel of the riverfront’s environs.
Dodell said the restaurant will be a causal concept. No dogs will be allowed inside the restaurant, but an outdoor deck will welcome leashed pets. Dogs can run off leash at the rest of the site, which will include distinct areas for small and big dogs.
Dodell, an attorney by training, is a longtime businessman in Kansas City. He has worked in the media and technology insurance fields locally.
Clockwork Architecture + Design is the architecture firm designing Bar K. Taliaferro & Brown is the project’s engineer.
“Bar K is going to be a great additional amenity to the riverfront,” said Michael Collins, president and CEO of PortKC, in a written statement. “Many Berkley Riverfront Park visitors enjoy bringing their dogs to the park to run and play. This project gives us the opportunity to utilize ‘found space’ under the bridge and convert it into an exciting, dedicated, vibrant new meeting space for dogs, dog enthusiasts and others in Kansas City.”
Dodell plans to hold a party at the site Sunday, including a temporary dog park, a 5-kilometer race and a beer tent. Go to barkdogbar.com for more information.