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Kansas City downtown riverfront development inches ahead

Part of the plan, named Union | Berkley Riverfront Park, calls for construction of luxury apartments, retail and parking facilities.
Part of the plan, named Union | Berkley Riverfront Park, calls for construction of luxury apartments, retail and parking facilities.

A three-decade attempt to revive the downtown riverfront inched forward Tuesday when the Kansas City Plan Commission approved a plat proposal from the Port Authority of Kansas City.

Part of the plan, named Union | Berkley Riverfront Park, calls for construction of luxury apartments, retail and parking facilities.

The $65 million project will be developed by Flaherty & Collins Properties, an Indianapolis-based company, on land owned by the Port Authority, which is investing about $5 million in infrastructure development.

The plat approval covers about 20 acres bounded by East Riverfront Drive on the north, Front Street on the west, Interstates 29 and 35 on the east, and railroad tracks on the south.

Construction on the mixed-use Union | Berkley project, which calls for more than 400 residential units, is expected to begin this summer, with the opening expected in 2016. The Port Authority is leasing the land to the developer.

Flaherty & Collins also is building a $28 million mixed-use project in downtown Gladstone, among other projects around the country.

The Union | Berkley development is the furthest along of any proposal for the tax-exempt land along that part of the Missouri River. A former plan for a $4 million BrightFarms hydroponic greenhouse operation on a 5-acre site next to Berkley Park has failed to reach fruition.

The Port Authority owns 55 acres of the property, all intended for development after a former tow lot and dumping grounds were cleared.

The Port Authority is marketing the rest of the riverfront site in parcels. It aims to reach developers to participate in its vision for a high-density, multi-use development to be built in stages over 10 years.

The Union | Berkley plan calls for 350,000 square feet of residential units, 12,500 square feet of retail space and a parking garage.

To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send email to stafford@kcstar.com. Read more from Diane at kansascity.com/workplace. Twitter: @kcstarstafford.

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