News from City Hall
City Communications Office
City of Kansas City, Mo.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Sept. 5, 2013
Business incubator in urban core opens Sept. 5
Once a brownfield, now state-of-the-art green
The City of Kansas City, Mo., announces the grand opening of the Blue Hills Business Center and Contractor Incubator at 5008 Prospect Ave. on Thursday, Sept. 5.
The $3.3 million center once was an abandoned building on a brownfield in the City’s urban core. Now it’s a LEED Gold and Energy Star-certified structure that houses a business incubator designed to spark new jobs and training in the Green Impact Zone.
The grand opening is scheduled for 4:30-7:30 p.m. with tours and entertainment hosted by Blue Hills Community Services. A program begins at 5 p.m. with remarks by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Mayor Sly James and others.
The project came about when a regional partnership administered by the City secured three grants: a $2.2 million EnergyWorks KC grant from the U.S. Department of Energy and two Community Development Block Grants totaling $867,000 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Initial acquisition and predevelopment costs were financed by the Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation.
“Many people have put so much work into turning this vision into reality,” said Congressman Cleaver of Missouri’s Fifth District. “This public-private initiative is a shining example of what can be done to create jobs, better our neighborhoods and strengthen our city when we work together. I applaud Blue Hills Community Services, the Green Impact Zone staff and so many others involved in this effort.”
The project was built with the help of small construction companies, and the incubator will continue to work with these small businesses by providing additional training and support with bid preparation, project management and obtaining lines of credit. The project also provides office space for lease, public meeting space, offices for community services and a home repair and weatherization center.
“Partners in the Better Buildings Neighborhood Program are leading by example, showing firsthand how energy efficiency improvements save money by saving energy," said Danielle Sass Byrnett, director of DOE’s Better Buildings Neighborhood Program. "The Kansas City project is helping to reduce energy costs, support new jobs and build a more sustainable energy future.”
About the partners:
EnergyWorks KC is an innovative regional partnership working to transform the energy efficiency market in the metro area. Kansas City was one of 25 communities to receive funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 through a DOE program to bolster energy retrofitting efforts with a $20 million award. For more information, contact Dennis Murphey at the City’s Office of Environmental Quality at 816-513-3459 or visit www.kcmo.org/EWKC.
Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation has been at the forefront of targeting local investment through its NeighborhoodsNOW revitalization program. This initiative takes a comprehensive approach to transforming promising urban core neighborhoods into sustainable communities. For more information, contact Julie Porter at 816-753-0055 or visit www.lisc.org/kansascity.
Blue Hills Community Services is a nonprofit community development corporation founded in 1974 to battle social and economic challenges faced by residents of Blue Hills and surrounding neighborhoods in Kansas City. The organization uses a block-by-block strategy to focus on revitalization with new and renovated single family homes, multi-family development and home repair services. Joanne Bussinger is executive director. For more information, visit www.bhcsmo.org.
The Green Impact Zone is a 150-square block area in Kansas City’s urban core that serves as a national model of place-based investment, demonstrating how a distressed community can be changed through intense, focused coordination of programs and resources. For more information, contact Anita Maltbia at 816-474-4240 or visit www.marc.org/greenimpactzone.