‘The Rocks’ Roeland Park concept shows adventure course, hotel

The Rocks Roeland Park
A conceptual drawing showing the adventure course and hotel envisioned for The Rocks in Roeland Park.

CBC Real Estate Group is still looking for the “right fit” for developer opportunities at Roeland Park’s old pool site, now known as The Rocks.

Roeland Park has been looking into avenues to develop the site, which the city owns, since 2015. In early 2017, the city signed a letter of intent with a developer hoping to bring a project to The Rocks. Also in 2017, Roeland Park approved the creation of a new hotel tax in anticipation of a hotel being part of the development.

At a worksession Monday, CBC’s Jason Glasrud told the city council he’s been working to attract a hotel, full-service restaurant and bar, and extreme sports venue.

Glasrud said the site vision leverages the “unique natural environment of the limestone quarry” featuring rock as a major design element. Glasrud said the Quarry Park Adventures site in Rocklin, Calif., was an example of what The Rocks could look like after it was fully developed.

CBC has been working with the city since 2016 to develop a master plan for The Rocks and city-owned property at the northeast corner of Johnson Drive and Roe Boulevard.

The city is trying to make the site as shovel-ready as possible while waiting to secure developers. In January councilmembers approved spending $271,500 to build a stormwater detention facility and $15,800 for grading work.

City administrator Keith Moody said Monday that the site needed additional costly improvements to be shovel ready including major grading, a retaining wall, and utility relocation.

“This site will require more than just the normal cost to bring it to life,” Moody said.

Glasrud said marketing efforts are focused on securing a hotel first and that once that piece is finalized the restaurant and extreme sports venue could be built around the hotel. While the city has not received firm commitments Glasrud said he hoped to have “positive news” soon.

Zip KC and the Sunflower Hotel Group showed interest in The Rocks but no formal offers were made.

City administrator Keith Moody pointed out the council had already approved an 8 percent hotel tax and said an $8 million, 90-room hotel with a fee of about $100 per night could bring in $60,000 in property tax revenue and $120,000 in sales tax revenue annually for the city.

“That hotel tax is a very strong revenue generator,” Moody said.

Councilmember Becky Fast said she would like to see a development that capitalizes on the site’s unique views of downtown Kansas City.

“It’s just a wonderful location,” Fast said. “You can see the whole skyline when you get up there.”