KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Canadian Pacific Kansas City leaders had everything ready to go Friday for a historic moment, the final spike being hit into the ground connecting the Kansas City Southern rail line to the Canadian Pacific rail line.
Now Kansas City Southern is no more, and the same goes for Canadian Pacific. The two companies officially merged Friday into Canadian Pacific Kansas City.
This comes after CP bought KC Southern for $31 billion in 2021. The merger, though, just went into effect on Friday after federal approval last month.
“We said that we’re here to stay,” new Canadian Pacific Kansas City President Keith Creel said Friday. “This isn’t less prominence in Kansas City. It’s more.”
Besides the final spike at the railyard off of Front Street, leaders held a groundbreaking for a new operations center at that same location. It’s supposed to hold 150 workers.
Canadian Pacific’s rail line, which stretched across the northern United State, now links up with Kansas City Southern’s line that goes all the way down to Mexico. It’s the first single line railway connecting Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
“It starts today with this commitment, this commitment to the city, this commitment to this world class best North American network, North American railroad,” Creel continued.
Besides what’s happening on Front Street, CPKC — as it’s now called — plans to expand KC Southern’s old headquarters downtown on 12th Street west of Broadway. It will become CPKC’s new U.S. headquarters.
However, Kevin Collison, the founder of CityScene KC told FOX4 Friday there are a lot of challenges with that downtown project.
“A couple of years ago, the city bought this big parking lot at the corner of 12th and Broadway,” Collison said.
“It had been owned by this family that really didn’t want to sell it. They finally sold it, so the city had it in hand, and they’d always known that Kansas City Southern had shown a strong interest in eventually expanding their headquarters. Well then of course the Canadian Pacific deal comes through.”
Collison said CPKC still wants to buy the property from the city. Leaders hope to build an apartment building along Broadway and then ultimately expand their headquarters.
“But the big hoop is Barney Allis Plaza, which is a major headache right now,” he said. “It is 70 years old. It’s falling apart.”
The bottom two levels of the Barney Allis parking garage have been closed due to structural concerns and crumbling ceilings.
“There’s been plans now for the past few years about rebuilding Barney Allis, a smaller garage, a level terrace,” Collison told FOX4. “But the price tag’s $112 million, and the city right now doesn’t know where that money’s going to come from.”
Collison said until Barney Allis Plaza is rebuilt, Kansas City will likely need to use the nearby lot at 12th and Broadway for parking.
“The timing of when this other stuff starts relies on when Barney Allis is done, and then they can turn to actually building the apartment building and then ultimately this office expansion,” he said.
Collison went in depth on other downtown Kansas City projects as well in our latest episode of 4 The People. It airs at 10 a.m. Sunday. Watch on air or view online.