Roeland Park in discussions with potential tenants for old pool site

Limestone rock formations and caves are being crushed to make way for development at the old pool site in Roeland Park
Limestone rock formations and caves are being crushed to make way for development at the old pool site in Roeland Park

Roeland Park officials are in preliminary discussions with a hotel developer and the operator of a zip line adventure park as potential uses for the old pool site near 48th Street and Roe Avenue.

Sunflower Development Group, a firm that has redeveloped several historic buildings in downtown Kansas City, and Zip KC, which operates a 143-acre Adventure Park with nine zip lines near the Kansas River in Bonner Springs, are interested in the property.

“They would be compatible developments,” City Administrator Keith Moody said. “The extreme sports folks would be on the lower level, the hotel people would be on the north part of the property.”

Bulldozers and excavators operated by Pyramid Contractors are breaking rock and moving earth at the approximately 6-acre site where the Roeland Park swimming pool was located until 1993. The City Council approved an $820,000 contract with the firm in mid-October to make the site shovel-ready for construction.

It’s a challenging acreage with steep grades, limestone rock formations, mature trees and caves that need to be collapsed and filled so the property is stable for new construction, Moody said.

Jason Swords of Sunflower Development said his firm is considering a smaller, limited service hotel with about 100 rooms at the site. Sunflower has renovated several historic buildings in downtown Kansas City.

Their projects include Pershing Lofts, a residential and retail redevelopment project across from Union Station; the Ambassador Hotel, the renovation of the historic Gate City National Bank Building on Grand Boulevard near the Sprint Center, and the Cosby Hotel, offices and retail in an 1880s building at Ninth and Baltimore.

Sunflower Development Group is building this Hilton Home2 in downtown Kansas City.
Sunflower Development Group is building this Hilton Home2 in downtown Kansas City.

Sunflower’s latest project is a new 115-room, Hilton Home2 Suites hotel at 20th and Main Street in the Crossroads Arts District. Swords said the Roeland Park project would likely be similar in scale to that Hilton project if it was to proceed.

“We’re waiting on site plans and our market studies,” he said.

He added the proposed hotel would be compatible with the potential zip line park next door.

“We knew it would be a part of the project and we’d be OK with it,” Swords said.

The operator of Zip KC could not be reached for comment.

Moody said Roeland Park also would like to attract a restaurant and bar to the development site that would front the Roe Avenue side of the property.

A bulldozer grades soil to prepare for new development at the old pool site in Roeland Park
A bulldozer grades soil to prepare for new development at the old pool site in Roeland Park