Rockhurst University Garage Brings New Retail Space to Troost AvenueFebruary 9, 2011

The March 4 ground breaking for a new parking garage heralds much more for the Rockhurst University neighborhood than additional places to park – it brings with it a $9 million investment that will contribute to the commercial revitalization of Troost Avenue. It also signifies what can happen when universities and neighborhood organizations work together on campus development plans.

The Rockhurst University North Parking Garage, which will be located on the site of a current surface lot at Troost Avenue and Rockhurst Road (52nd Street), will be a mixed-use facility with 10,000 square feet earmarked for businesses or services that would benefit both the campus community and the community at large. Potential tenants include a health clinic and a small convenience store. The façade also will include space for the Troost rapid transit line MAX station.

The garage launches the first phase of a campus facilities master plan that calls for a new academic building, a new student residence hall and the renovation of historic Sedgwick Hall.

"One of our most pressing needs is a new academic building," said Matt Heinrich, associate vice president for facilities and technology, "but it will be located on an existing parking lot. Strategically, that means we first need to build the garage."

The master plan, including the design for the parking garage, was developed in partnership with leaders from the surrounding neighborhood associations. The collaboration contributed to the inclusion of mixed-use space in the garage, a "green wall" that incorporates plants to soften its appearance and contribute to the environment, and the location of some of the buildings in the master plan.

"When we first started work on the master plan and the garage design, we had some pretty uncomfortable discussions with our neighbors," says Heinrich. "But by listening to each others’ needs and concerns we were able to overcome that and we emerged with a much stronger plan."

A ground breaking ceremony will be held at 2:30 p.m. Friday, March 4, and construction is scheduled to begin the following week. The project is scheduled for completion Dec. 31.

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