Stinson Attorneys Give Behind the Scenes Look into Redevelopment of the Rock Island Bridge in Kansas City Business Journal

In the News

Stinson LLP attorneys Kyle Ferden and Anna Krstulic are featured in a Kansas City Business Journal article, "Stinson lawyers pioneer unusual legal ground to advance Rock Island Bridge repurposing," detailing the unique aspects and legal obstacles surrounding the redevelopment of the Rock Island Bridge.

Since starting work on the project in 2018, the attorneys conducted research dating back to 1855, which required an extensive understanding of ownership rights, precedent, and creativity from the developers, architects and engineers.

"A lot of laws we had to dig through were some of the first in the state of Kansas, focused on the concerns of the day, and didn't get changed over the next 100 years. We had to dive in and work our way through the patchwork of applicable state, local, county and federal laws, in addition to railroad law," Ferden said.

Krstulic continues, "There were so many unique and interesting property issues that it took a while to really wrap our heads around everything that needed to be solved. We needed to explore, at least on behalf of the Unified Government, what the implications were of taking ownership of something like this and allowing this type of development."

The attorneys, including Todd LaSala and Karl Phares, used condominium laws as guidance for repurposing the bridge. They created a condominium plat that separates the commercial from the public components of the project, resulting in approval for the first of its kind redevelopment of a more than 100-year-old railroad bridge. 

The $12 million transformation of the Rock Island Bridge into walkable entertainment and recreational space will connect communities in Kansas and Missouri with pedestrian and bicycle trail crossings from the West Bottoms in Missouri to the existing levee trails along the Kansas River's west side. Plans for the bridge include 11,000 square feet of multipurpose space for open-air food courts and a food hall with industrial kitchens, office and retail space, and 8,000 square feet of event space with a removable cover and an open-air veranda. The Rock Island Bridge is expected to open Spring 2024.

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