By LESLIE COLLINS
September 4, 2013
Additional funding has now been secured to remediate asbestos and other hazardous materials at the former Hardesty Federal Complex.
Kansas City City Council members voted Aug. 22 to award a $300,000 loan from the Kansas City Brownfield Revolving Loan Fund to the Hardesty Renaissance Economic Development Corporation (HREDC), a Missouri non-profit.
HREDC is a subsidiary of Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), which purchased the site in 2011. Based in New York City, AAFE operates two Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI’s), which have a loan pool that exceeds $15 million, and manages more than 600 multifamily housing units. In addition, AAFE provides a variety of community based programming.
Jim Turner, chief financial officer of AAFE and project manager for HREDC, said their vision is to turn the blighted piece of property into a sustainable economic asset for the community.
For more than a decade, the Hardesty Federal Complex, 607 Hardesty Ave., sat vacant. Now, if all goes as planned, the site will become a food hub. Topping the list of food hub offerings is providing a distribution/processing center and marketplace for locally grown food. Future initiatives will include offering food related education programs, business incubator space and providing marketing and logistics support to local urban farms.
HREDC is currently conducting a detailed study, which will be completed by the end of October, to identify service gaps in the Kansas City area. Their intention is not to compete, but to find and fill those gaps, Turner said.
Over the next four months, HREDC will also finalize its website to keep the public informed, complete their business plan for phase I of development, will begin the process of platting the site, and will hire a contractor to abate asbestos, mold and lead paint from Building 11 on the site. Building 11 is one of six buildings on site and is the largest, totaling 210,000 square feet. The total complex spans 18.3 acres and has 572,000 square feet of space in the six buildings. HREDC’s goal is to create a clean and secure space by the end of the year to show off to potential partners and tenants. Building 11 will eventually serve as the food hub and distribution/processing center.