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March 7, 2013

Plans for Beacon Hill grocery advance

The Hospital Hill Economic Development Corp. and Truman Medical Centers have received a transfer of land at the planned site of 27th Street and Troost Avenue.

An idea that has been years in the works — making fresh, healthy food more easily available to urban core residents — has taken a step forward.

The Hospital Hill Economic Development Corp. and Truman Medical Centers have received a transfer of land at the planned site of 27th Street and Troost Avenue.

The transfer came from Kansas City and the receivership of the Housing and Economic Development Financial Corp.

Hospital officials believe that high incidences of diabetes, hypertension, congestive heart failure and obesity can be reduced if area residents have better access to foods that contribute to healthy diets.

Planners say the 35,000-square-foot store, due to break ground in this fall, will have extensive produce, meat and dairy sections. It also will have partnerships with local growers and hold periodic farmers markets.

The cost of the grocery, which is expected to take about nine months to build, is pegged at $11.5 million.

The store will include a bakery, floral department, prepared meals and a commercial kitchen. Cooking classes, dietary and wellness advice, and other community events also are planned.

John Bluford, president and chief executive of Truman Medical Centers, said the concept includes having nutritionists and dietitians available to help shoppers plan menus and make healthy choices.

Charlie Shields, chairman of the Hospital Hill development corporation, said the grocery also will help the continued redevelopment of Beacon Hill, an urban core neighborhood near Hospital Hill.

Shields said the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority and the Zimmer Real Estate firm assisted in moving the project forward.

Associated Wholesale Grocers also is involved in the development.

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