KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Clay County Economic Development Council has big plans in the works.
The county, which holds nearly 250,000 people, could be seeing its landscape reimagined on the way east from the airport.
“Just a blank slate and cattle and opportunity,” said David Slater, the executive director of the Clay County Economic Development Council.
Pastureland and vacant, wooded areas are how Slate describes Interstate 435 and Route 152.
"Interstate 435 + Highway 152 = 587,” Slater said.
That’s the project name — Clay County Project 587.
“This is probably the biggest thing that could happen to the Northland,” said Kevin O’Neill, a KCMO councilman.
O'Neill and Slater are talking about developing the four quadrants from the highway, a total transformation of 2,500 acres.
The pair say it’s undeveloped land, green space, and they plan to turn it into another skyline for the Kansas City area.
The multi-billion-dollar project would create multifamily homes, office space, entertainment, eateries, shopping and education opportunities
The idea from Slater is a passion project for years to come for the Clay County Economic Development Council.
The Boundaries for the project stretch from 96th Street on the north, Shoal Creek Parkway on the east, Soccer Drive on the south and North Brighton on the west.
Some city council members say it’ll save a 40-minute drive south.
“The people that live in the Northland, which is 43% of the population in Kansas City, won’t have to drive south for every single thing," said Heather Hall, a KCMO councilwoman. "They do we need a class A office, event space and hotels for 300 people. It’s not equality or equity when people in the Northland who pay the same taxes have to drive farther away to get what people have.”
Businesses in the area weighed in on the project.
“It really puts the Northland and Kansas City forward,” said Korey Schulz, with Olsson Studio. “It’s a place where people can live, work and be entertained all in one area.”
Slater said the development will be brought to life by a variety of incentives and other funding.
“I would hope that the average homeowner wouldn’t be paying for this project,” Hall said. “My goal is a sales tax-driven incentive, not a property tax so that the families aren’t paying for it. But if you decide to get a diet coke at QuikTrip, you’re going to help pay for it.”
The goal is to create the Northland's own district within the city, with the hope it will create thousands of jobs.
“We want to create a walkable area that has density, high rises 30 story buildings, villas for people who want to live on acreages, big houses, small houses, a lot of opportunity for people,” O’Neill said.
This project has already jumped through study phases, and the Clay County Economic Development Council says the master plan pushed forward the implementation, partners and investors and community input.