Kansas City Area to Get $320M Mixed-Use Development

Nov. 27--A residential and commercial development three times the size of Zona Rosa is planned for the north side of Missouri 152 between North Congress and North Amity avenues.

The $320 million development, called Riverstone, will be built on 296 acres in an area that was largely undeveloped five years ago but now appears primed for economic development.

Riverstone will be across from Kansas City's new aquatic center and the Southern Platte County Athletic Association's complex, both of which opened in spring.

Those recreational facilities coincided with the improvements made to North Congress Avenue, Tiffany Springs Road and Missouri 152.

"Those road improvements definitely spurred this development," said Ora Reynolds, vice president and general manager of residential development for Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development Inc., the project's developer.

"This is a wonderful location with great visibility," she said.

Riverstone will have 284 single-family homes, 456 apartments, 500 residential row home or four-plex units and 475,500 square feet of commercial and office space.

The Kansas City Council has rezoned the property, which was once owned by Springfield hotel magnate John Q. Hammons.

The developer expects to break ground in the spring and complete the first phase in 2008, Reynolds said.

When Riverstone is completed, Northland leaders think it will be a key piece to the ongoing makeover of the area along both sides of Interstate 29 between Kansas City International Airport and Barry Road.

That makeover, leaders said, has transformed the area into the retail epicenter of Platte County.

The area includes Zona Rosa, a 93-acre restaurant, retail and entertainment complex that opened in 2004. It also has loft apartments, offices and an area for concerts and other events.

An Atlanta developer plans to build a 600,000-square-foot retail center on the east side of I-29 north of Missouri 152. Several auto dealerships have opened on the west side of I-29. The Kansas City Aviation Department has targeted the area west of I-29 near Tiffany Springs Parkway for commercial and industrial development.

Pete Fullerton, executive director of the Platte County Economic Development Council, recalled taking a business group from Birmingham, Ala., out to see the aquatic center on its opening day.

"They were standing there asking why we put this aquatic center there," he said. "They said there was nothing around there."

Fullerton said the Riverstone development is the link that will connect Zona Rosa and other retail development along Barry Road to the aquatic center and the office and hotel development closer to the airport.

Much of the retail development has led city, county and state officials to improve the roads in the area.

North Congress Avenue, which once came to a dead end north of Missouri 152, recently was extended to Tiffany Springs Road.

The state also recently completed the last stretch of the Missouri 152 widening to four lanes between Interstate 435 in Platte County to Interstate 35 in Clay County.

A half-diamond interchange at Missouri 152 and North Congress, financed by tax revenues from Zona Rosa, was completed.

Hunt Midwest will pay to widen the remainder of Tiffany Springs Road to North Amity Avenue. Kansas City plans to widen North Amity between Missouri 152 and Tiffany Springs Road next year, city officials said.

Hunt Midwest is no stranger to the Northland. It has built hundreds of new homes in the booming Shoal Creek Valley area, as well as the single-family and town home portion of Northgate Village in North Kansas City.

Riverstone will not be Hunt Midwest's largest development, Reynolds said. But because of its proximity to Missouri 152, it will be the company's most visible one, she said.

The apartments, single-family homes and a big-box retail center will front Missouri 152. The row homes and four-plex units will be near the corner of Tiffany Springs and North Amity.

Another commercial site will be at the intersection of Tiffany Springs Road and North Congress.

Because of the property's rough terrain and a stream, the developer cannot build roads that connect North Amity to North Congress, said city planner John Eckardt.

To reach Mike Rice, call (816) 234-5903 or send e-mail to mrice@kcstar.com.

<<Kansas City Star (MO) (KRT) -- 11/28/06>>