City Market Renovations

Kansas City, MO

In downtown Kansas City, Missouri’s historic River Market district, the site of the original riverfront settlement, The City Market is a complex of vintage structures built from 1920 to 1950 comprising restaurants; retail specialty food stores; retail shops and open-air “sheds” in season by local farmers selling home grown fresh produce. Also used as an entertainment venue, The City Market proves a popular place to live, work and play. 

We were first charged with developing a master plan that reflected the changing needs of the Market’s tenants and those of the increasing residential neighborhood surrounding it.  Through a series of workshops with interested groups, we were able to prioritize and budget a list of needs and wants, ever-mindful to preserve The City Market’s history, and created the road map for the design team in moving forward.

One of the top priorities was to create new pedestrian entrances, creating a natural flow from the existing east parking lot to the open air sheds in the center. These new entrances were considered very significant improvements to the City Market creating a dramatic new front door facing Grand Boulevard and was a deliberate gesture to allow the City Market to face outward.

One of the challenges in creating these new entrances was the need to protect a very busy, successful and rare historical artifact museum directly below one of new entrances.  Special considerations, including museum security; dust; noise and vibration control; stringent thermal and moisture protection to preserve the artifacts, and phasing of construction so as not to disrupt the museum’s daily operations were all built into our design.

Additional projects at the City Market include  a comprehensive graphics program; including the redesign of the historic entrance arch; a new transit center / parking facility and a pair of cornerstone pocket parks serving as a gateway to the adjacent riverfront district;  the planning / preliminary design of a high density mixed-use residential district on the City’s adjacent surface parking lots to the west;  the creation of new shade structures inside the market square and next to the existing arcades, providing additional outdoor market space for permanent tenants, and the refurbishment of the first of the three open air market structures, including an all-weather enclosure which effectively expands the season in which weekend vendors can sell their wares. 

Engaged by the City of Kansas City, Missouri’s City Architect’s Office, we served as the executive architects for all improvements to the complex. These tasks, among others, have resulted in a master plan of over $12 million in construction projects which are being implemented over a ten year period. 

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