Kansas City Council working to rebuild downtown Barney Allis Plaza

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Council is moving forward in a process that could lead to rebuilding the downtown Barney Allis Plaza.

City officials warn that its underground parking structure is at risk of collapsing if something isn’t done.

The council voted 11-2 in favor of the plan that will take $1.3 million supplied by the Kansas City Area Transit Authority and with that money, pay McCownGordon Construction to come up with a project design.

The Auditorium Plaza Garage underground parking area is twice as old as its expected lifespan, and there are major issues with structural concrete and electrical systems.

The main replacement project, estimated by different councilmembers to be somewhere between $75 million and a high estimate of $110 million, are still discussions and somewhat in the distance for the Barney Allis Plaza project.

“Frankly, the one design particularly they showed us had development on the southeast corner and the southwest corner with a view shed through the center. So probably for the first time since 1957 when Barney Ellis was built, you would actually be able to see — if that’s the direction we went — the historic façade of the Municipal Auditorium,” said Katheryn Shields, Fourth District-at-large Councilwoman.

“I first came down here in 1995 and I was told as a new council member ‘Barney Ellis garage is falling down. We can’t go in there. It’s falling apart. It’s not safe. We’ve got to do something.’ That was 1995. So just so we know this ‘hurry, hurry, hurry stuff’ — it’s been around for a while,” said Teresa Loar, Second District Councilwoman.

Loar was one of two votes against the proposal.

Design plans will be provided within three months of the deal going through and will include a guaranteed maximum price tag, Shields said.

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