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

Kansas City Catalytic Urban Revitalization Initiative (KC-CUR) 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:  launching redevelopment of sufficient scale to be transformational in the UNI area and beyond.

After nine months of data collection, meetings with neighborhood residents and other stakeholders, and reviewing previous East Side redevelopment plans, four target areas were identified for focused redevelopment planning and investment:  31st & Prospect, 31st & Troost, the Ivanhoe Neighborhood’s 39th Street Corridor, and UNI’s Wendell Phillips Neighborhood Initiative area.

UNI is serving the role of “master developer,” leading a range of redevelopment projects and complementary programs that build social capital and create safe places to live, work, and play.

The new Sun Fresh grocery store at 3110 Prospect Avenue in the Linwood Shopping Center. Image courtesy of Ridpath Creative

“The goal: to launch redevelopment of sufficient scale to be transformational in the UNI area and beyond.”

What’s Ahead

LISC will 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