KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Movie star Brad Pitt wasn't there in person, but he issued a written statement Saturday after his Make it Right foundation helped bring about the groundbreaking ceremony for a new, affordable housing project in the inner city.
Missouri 5th District U.S. Rep Emanuel Cleaver II and Kansas City, Mo., Mayor Sly James were among those who gathered at the former Bancroft Elementary School, 4300 Tracy Ave., for the ceremony. The project is in the Manheim Park Neighborhood.
Make It Right was founded by Pitt after Hurricane Katrina to help build houses and buildings in communities in need. Make it Right joined with Missouri–based developer Dalmark and the KCMO Neighborhood Housing Services department to redevelop the former school. Built in 1904, Bancroft served as a public elementary school until 1999. It has been vacant ever since.
The Bancroft Project will include 50 LEED Platinum-certified rental housing units, showcasing sustainable design. Half the housing units will be built in the renovated school building; the remainder will be new townhomes built around the school.
The Bancroft Project will also feature amenities designed for use by members of the surrounding community, including an auditorium, gymnasium and locker rooms, technology lab, job-training center, a mobile medical clinic and community gardens. Make It Right Solar, in collaboration with Brightergy of Kansas City, is to build a solar-power array on the roof.
"Make It Right believes that sustainable housing should be available and affordable for everyone," Pitt said in his written statement. "Today we are proud to join our Kansas City partners and local leaders as we break ground on this innovative project. We are honored to help fulfill the community's vision of a vibrant Manheim Park."
Other financial supporters of the Bancroft Project, which is estimated to cost $14.1 million, include the Dreiseszun Family Foundation and U.S. Bank.
Construction is expected to begin next month, with completion by January 2014.