Two crime-ridden motels on East 87th Street in south Kansas City have been demolished, as development of Cerner’s giant office campus continues.
City Councilman Scott Taylor and other dignitaries heralded the demolition of the Capital Center Inn and A-1 Motel, both at 6101 E. 87th Street, at a press conference Thursday.
“This is a positive thing for the community,” Taylor said after the event. “They were the Number One places for crime calls for South Patrol for several years.”
Taylor was joined by Police Maj. Louis Perez, South Patrol division commander; state Rep. DaRon McGee of south Kansas City; City Councilman Kevin McManus; former City Councilman John Sharp; Pastor Ron Lindsay of Concord Fortress of Hope Church; and Pastor Darron Edwards of United Believers Community Church.
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The churches and other neighbors had complained for years about problems associated with the motels.
The property removal is connected to the massive build-out of Cerner Corp’s office complex on the site of the former Bannister Mall east of Interstate 435 and north of Bannister Road. The motels, plus a former Montgomery Ward store at 8844 Hillcrest Road, were in a 50-acre site at the northwest corner that was omitted from the original 240-acre plan. So now the entire campus site is 290 acres.
The so-called Innovations Campus had its official ribbon cutting in March.
Taylor said the Montgomery Ward previously was demolished, and he was especially encouraged by the removal of the Capital Center and A-1 motels, which police said were magnets for drug deals, prostitution and other crime problems. A 2014 blight study said they were built in 1973 and had 146 and 97 guest rooms, respectively. They were operating as short-term apartments but were not designed to do so, and were about 70 percent occupied when they were finally shut down early this year.
The City Council authorized their condemnation in 2015, and a court valued them at $3.1 million. City officials said Cerner paid that cost as part of its redevelopment project and also paid the demolition cost, which was not disclosed.
Taylor said Cerner has already built two large buildings of its campus and expects to add a building per year over the next decade. It ultimately expects to employ 16,000 workers at the campus.
Taylor said the motel removal should also help the area attract more small businesses back to the neighborhood.