Kansas City's 18th and Vine demolition, reconstruction begins

Posted at 5:01 PM, Dec 12, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-12 18:03:49-05

It's out with the old and in with the new. On Monday a bulldozer knocked down the abandoned Black Chamber of Commerce building at 18th and The Paseo.

"Within the next year, you will see a lot of progress," said Kansas City City Councilman Quinton Lucas. "In the years following you will see new construction, high rises, apartment buildings, new opportunities for office space, etcetera. I hope by about 2020 you see a district transform and you see real progress."

The goal -- do to 18th and Vine, what has already been done downtown, the Crossroads and City Market.

"This is not just a place for African Americans, this is not just a place for jazz, this is not a place just for baseball - this is a city asset for all of us to embrace," said Councilman Jermaine Reed.

But revitalizing the Jazz District is not without challenges. Efforts have been made in the past.

"The reason we had trouble in the past is that we didn't do enough," said Lucas. "We did not make sure that we were really trying to transform a neighborhood. Before we built new buildings, and we got museums. Now we are talking preservation and the real community. The whole community and not just for two blocks or three blocks, but how this relates to a 12 block area from the Crossroads and 71 Highway to Interstate 70 on the other side."

It will take tens of millions of dollars in order for the project to be successful.

Aside from the $7 million the city council approved, the district also has $28 million committed in public funding and millions more in private funding.

According to a release from the city, "a firm has been hired to design parking and streetscape improvements."

Other progress being made includes:

  • Construction for the Urban Youth Baseball Academy
  • Requests for Proposals (RFP) for developers for the proposed new retail shops and apartments also have been released
  • Recently approved legislation that will allow the City to acquire properties currently owned by the JDRC."


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