NEKC Renaissance takes another step

By JOE JAROSZ
Northeast News
April 16, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – One more step has been taken to allow a renaissance in northeast Kansas City, Mo.

At last Thursday’s City Council meeting, the motion was passed approving the preliminary plat of Hardesty Renaissance on an 18-acre tract of land located south of Independence Avenue and east of Hardesty Avenue. The Hardesty Renaissance project plans to redevelop the former Hardesty Federal Complex site, 607 Hardesty Ave. According to its website, the plan is to revitalize the site, “creating new jobs and being one of the catalysts that helps Northeast Kansas City become a sustainable place.”

Built in 1940, the former federal building was purchased by the non-profit Hardesty Renaissance Economic Development Corporation in 2011. Since then, according to its website, the Hardesty Renaissance has developed relationships with communities, the local government, and organizations, while carefully researching potential development opportunities that could deliver the project’s vision.

Joe Rexwinkle, staff planner for the city’s planning and development, said the group is dividing the lot. They’re also seeking waivers for requirements on adjusting the street plan.

With the council’s approval, Hardesty Renaissance will renovate Building 11 and perform asbestos abatement. The renovation will create a workspace, exhibit area for attracting potential partners, tenants and operators, and a community meeting room. Jim Turner, director of the HREDC, said this is the final stages for the preliminary plat for the entire site.

“We reached a milestone recently by beginning the removal hardware materials from the buildings,” Turner said, adding they’ve been removing asbestos and lead paint.

Turner explained the conditions in the area, especially the size of the community, are what the parent organization, Asian Americans for Equality, were looking for. While building the contact base, Turner said the organizations have identified a number of gaps in the area where they could benefit, such as the Kansas City food systems.

“We plan to pursue those and build a business plan around it,” Turner said. “The site has to be cleaned up in the meantime. Right now, we’re working the local government while rehabing the building so we can soon start a program and go from there as the catalyst.”

Turned explained the project is still several years away from completion.

•The council unanimously approved authorizing and directing the issuance, sale and delivery of, no more than, $54 million of Water Revenue Bonds, Series 2014A, prescribing the form and details of such revenue bonds; authorizing certain actions and documents and prescribing other matters relating thereto.

•The council also approved the acceptance of a $22,500 grant from Jackson County, through its COMBAT, Anti-Violence Initiative, to provide funding to the City’s Aim4Peace Program, which supports projects with proven multi-disciplinary, community-based strategies to reduce violence.

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