Working with neighbors and trail users, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority ensured that the popular Trolley Track Trail would be protected while collaborating on a nearby economic development project that will bring a new Whole Foods Market to the region.
Kansas City leaders gathered Tuesday to break ground for the 430,000-square foot development at the corner of 51st and Oak streets. The three-acre project, sitting between Brookside Boulevard and Oak Street, will feature a new student health and counseling center, plus five stories of luxury apartments.
The KCATA played a role in the project, giving the developer a 50-year ground lease for part of the Country Club Right-of-Way, more commonly known as the Harry Wiggins Trolley Track Trail.
While the trail might be affected by some utility work, the KCATA collaborated with trail users to ensure that its integrity would be preserved. Under the agreement reached with the developer, no roads or driveways will cross the trail. The developers will provide landscaping along the right of way and a connection from the project to the trail for pedestrians and cyclists.
“We are proud to be part of an effort that will create more economic opportunity for our city and region,” said Joe Reardon, president and CEO of KCATA. “The new mixed-use development not only gives us another destination that will connect riders to commerce, but it also will help build transit ridership, especially on the popular MAX express route that operates between downtown and Waldo.”
The new Whole Foods Market is slated to open in late 2017.
Watch news coverage of the kickoff event:
Above photo, from left to right: Rich Muller, Executive Vice President; VanTrust Real Estate, Dave Harrison, President, VanTrust Real Estate; Sly James, Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri; Red Elk Banks, Regional Vice President, Rocky Mountain Region, Whole Foods Market; UMKC Chancellor Leo Morton; Bonne Illig, Chairman of Project Blue for the Kansas City Young Matrons; Barb Eiszner, President, Kansas City Young Matrons.
Below, a display of local produce, with the UMKC MAX station in the background.