A timeline of Berkley Riverfront's decade of breakneck development

The Berkley Riverfront area didn’t transform from a literal dumping ground to an emerging multi-use community overnight, but the recent pace of its development makes it seem that way.

Kansas City transferred about 110 riverfront acres to the Port Authority of Kansas City in 2012, under then-Mayor Sly James, a little less than 10 years after workers excavated and hauled away nearly 60,000 tons of soil with contaminants dating to the 1860s.

The cleanup was meant to prime a central area of the riverfront for development. Between 2012 and 2014, the effort developed further with a port-assembled team of land planners, brokers, design professionals and attorneys.

That year, the city approved a roughly 80-acre master development plan with designated land parcels, as well as general uses Port KC sought to court: residential, retail-restaurant, lodging and mixed use. Rather than penciling in specific projects for specific parcels, port officials took a more flexible approach.

“We didn’t prescribe what use on what corner at what time. Instead, we said, ‘any of those uses on any of the corners at any time,'” said Joe Perry, the port’s vice president of real estate. “That was a secret to our success. … We didn’t have a crystal ball. We didn’t know what use would want to be on what corner and what would be financeable.”

After a period of trying to land a single builder for the whole the riverfront, officials pivoted to marketing properties piecemeal. In 2014, it paid off. Out-of-town developer Flaherty & Collins Properties took a chance on the area with a plan for hundreds of new apartments.

As of fall 2023, virtually all land at the riverfront either has been developed or has a plan in the works.

“Instead of trying to find one buyer to take the whole (area), we broke it up into smaller bite-sized parcels where someone could buy an acre or 2 acres, build an apartment complex or a hotel, and then slowly build momentum that way, which in hindsight has been a good strategy,” Gib Kerr, managing director with Cushman & Wakefield and a longtime broker for the Berkley Riverfront, said in a recent call. “Our plans took an unexpected turn when we got (Kansas City Current owners) Chris and Angie Long interested in building their stadium down there. That accelerated things quite a bit, to the point where we’re now almost out of land.”

Berkley Riverfront beer garden rendering

Berkley Riverfront will add a beer garden in 2024. It’s one of dozens of developments on the site that once was a dumping ground.

KEM Studio

Here are than 30 milestones the Berkley Riverfront has seen over the past decade:



  • Port KC shares plan to invest about $5 million in riverfront infrastructure to support Flaherty & Collins’ apartments.



  • Port KC builds ADA-accessible outdoor fitness equipment in Berkley Riverfront Park.

Berkley Riverfront

The area around Berkley Riverfront Park is the location of the Union Berkley Riverfront apartment complex.

Adam Vogler I KCBJ



  • Port KC moves offices to commercial space on Union Berkley Riverfront’s ground floor.


KC Streetcar Riverfront rendering

KC Streetcar Authority’s rendering for the Riverfront extension project highlights how pedestrians will interact with the streetcar.

KC Streetcar Authority



KC Current Stadium

Construction continues on the Kansas City Current’s stadium, the first stadium in the world built for a professional women’s sports team.

Adam Vogler I KCBJ



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