The Red Bridge Shopping Center looks different now from in May when hundreds of south Kansas City residents gathered in a featureless parking lot to hear about coming renovations.
Today, the center has new landscaping, notable even with the leaves fallen from the young trees, and a brighter new exterior look.
“It’s a legacy J.C. Nichols development,” said Tom Proebstle, a partner at Generator Studio, the architectural company involved in the changes. “So we were careful about modifying the architecture, but we knew we wanted a new look.”
Generator Studio worked with Lane4 Property Group, which bought the struggling shopping center from a previous owner, to make changes similar to what the two firms did at Corinth Square on the Kansas side of the state line.
“We didn’t copy Corinth, but we did add layered stone, cedar pergolas and clapboard siding to the original red brick,” Proebstle said of changes to the 15,000-square-foot Red Bridge center.
Three modifications were key to the architectural rehabilitation, he said:
▪ Two towers, lit at night, were added above the northeast and southeast corners of the shopping center building to give the center more visibility from Holmes Road.
▪ Extensive medians, traffic islands and landscaping by the Site Line landscape design firm were added to the expansive parking lots to redirect traffic and make pedestrian patterns safer.
▪ The cedar pergolas were placed at the center’s corners to encourage outdoor dining areas for future restaurant tenants.
Lane4 principal Owen Buckley said the center, purchased for $4.4 million, is getting at least $9 million in renovations, and the total expenditure could be as much as $13.4 million within three to five years as it continues to attract new tenants.
Buckley said the vacant movie theater space continues to be reconfigured for new tenants in the heart of the center as do smaller retail sites around the center. Blue Bicycle Health and Fitness Center, formerly Benefit Fitness, has doubled its square footage in the former theater space.
To the west of the main buildings, Euston Hardware is doing finish work on part of the former bowling alley building in preparation for a January opening.
Euston, Blue Bicycle, and Sofi Cucina Italiana Restaurant previously were announced as new tenants in the center. The restaurant has since pulled out, but the parent company is considering other concepts for the same location.
One new lease, with SERC Physical & Hand Therapy, was signed recently, Buckley said.
“It could be three to five years before we’re done,” Buckley said. “But we’re working toward a charming center that will become what it used to be, a neighborhood center like Brookside, or Corinth or Prairie Village are today. We know that’s going to happen.”