Kansas City Catalytic Urban Redevelopment (KC-CUR) Initiative

The Urban Neighborhood Initiative will expand its capacity to serve as the development “quarterback” for a new and exciting initiative in the UNI area.

It’s called the Kansas City Catalytic Urban Redevelopment Initiative (KC-CUR) and is a partnership with the Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), the Mid- America Regional Council (MARC) and the City of Kansas City, Missouri. It’s been difficult to move many previous efforts from planning to implementation including identification of a development entity with sufficient capacity and financing necessary to execute large-scale, transformational redevelopment. KC-CUR is an effort to change that, with a strategy that includes a sustainable vision, financing model, and a system for ongoing management. The goal: to launch redevelopment of sufficient scale to be transformational in the UNI area and beyond.

Following the engagement of a consultant team to lead nine months of data collection, review of previous plans for the east side, and engaging hundreds of residents and community stakeholders, three focus areas were identified for KC-CUR’s work: the 31st and Prospect area, 31st and Troost area, and Ivanhoe Neighborhood’s 39th Street Corridor. Subsequently the partnership decided to add the Purpose Built Communities area, the Wendell Phillips Neighborhood Initiative, given the UNI’s extensive work on that initiative.

UNI will function as the “master developer,” leading a range of redevelopment projects and complementary programs that build social capital and create safe places to live, work, and play. UNI will serve in a variety of capacities, including project planning, coordination with related projects and programs, promotion, public engagement, and project sponsorship. Additional staff will be hired, allowing UNI to build the talent and financial balance sheet to fulfill this role. It was decided that UNI should serve as the quarterback for development “because of its commitment to partnering and collaborating with neighborhoods, as well as its relationships with business, civic, and community-based organizations throughout the study area and city. Equally important is its unwavering commitment to resident-driven solutions and evolving neighborhoods of choice.”

What's Ahead

LISC will provide technical assistance to UNI and help the organization build the capacity to implement the KC-CUR strategy. LISC will also take the lead in structuring, coordinating, fundraising, and managing a $25 to $40-million capital/equity fund. The new fund will provide zero percent project investments and low-interest loans to development projects that meet the KC-CUR criteria.

The City of KCMO will target public investments and strategies that can be implemented in the four priority areas, which might include public infrastructure improvements, TIFs, Community Improvement Districts, land acquisition, and the like.

MARC and the Urban Land Institute will continue to lend their expertise in areas such as planning, transportation, community services, federal and state funding, and real estate development.