Vision & Guts

May 21, 2019 | Practice

We can do anything, if we’ve just got the vision and guts to go out and do it.” – Barney Allis


Vision and guts.

We agree with Mr. Allis – we can make a significant impact on a space or community if we’ve got these two things. Through strong leadership and the ability to take an idea into implementation, our team is passionate about making projects happen.

And we’re proud that we helped do just that for Barney Allis Plaza.

Most Kansas Citians who work, live or spend time downtown know where Barney Allis Plaza is located. Some may have parked in the 1,000-vehicle parking facility beneath its surface. But very few utilize and enjoy this 3-acre space in the heart of the city, sandwiched between 12th and 13th streets and Central and Wyandotte streets.

It is for this reason that we are excited about the transformation of this plaza into an activated space and we have been deeply exploring its potential for the past several months.

Our team began its engagement with the Barney Allis Plaza site in 2017.  In March 2018, Ashley Sadowski led the TAP (Technical Assistance Panel) for Barney Allis Plaza for ULI (Urban Land Institute). The panel explored the background and history of the plaza and garage. The study included possible development opportunities and associated cost estimates as well as operations and programming options. The insights gathered by the TAP were instrumental in the initial conversations with the City of Kansas City.

Following the TAP, the City selected Odimo and Confluence as part of a multidisciplinary team for Phase I of the Barney Allis Plaza redevelopment study. Ashley Sadowski led the project management of this phase, serving as the primary point of contact for schedule and budget, coordination of deliverables and weekly project updates and reports. Confluence served as the landscape designer for the plaza program coordinating and Walker Consultants was the parking consultant.

The process was informed throughout by a robust precedent study of parks and plazas. Research of relevant open spaces throughout the United States led to discussions with project leadership to understand the story behind its formation.

Benchmarking discussions developed into narratives of key design elements, lessons learned, event programming details, and operational structures. Square footage analysis of all programming elements and a financial summary of capital and operational costs were also included.

Weekly meetings with the City of KCMO as well as frequent engagement with dozens of key stakeholders have kept the process moving. Stakeholder feedback included event programming, recreational space, partnership opportunities, and economic development opportunities.

The deliverable was a Basis of Design Document which included the benchmarking study, program analysis, garage plan concepts, financial analysis, and opinions of probable cost for multiple design concepts.

We presented our findings to the City Council on April 15. See our presentation here. A copy of our due diligence study can be found here.

We are so eager to see what the future holds for this prominent location of downtown Kansas City and are proud to have helped be a catalyst for change.