Kansas City is trying to move forward with development at 63rd Street and Prospect Avenue, where a previous development plan fell apart as the result of a financial and environmental debacle.
The city is issuing a request for proposals for high-quality retail, residential, mixed-use or other positive projects in an area that extends generally from 61st to 63rd streets and from Park Avenue to Prospect.
The city is trying to overcome a sad saga with a previous failed redevelopment attempt at that location. In the early 2000s, Citadel Plaza was envisioned as an $80 million, 35-acre shopping center with grocery store, restaurant, retailers and housing. But the developer, CDC-KC, failed to properly monitor asbestos removal before some houses were torn down in 2006, and the project collapsed in a mess of financial and environmental conflicts.
In November 2011, the Kansas City Council approved a $15 million settlement to resolve lawsuits involving the developer’s creditors. That settlement, made final in January 2012, gave the city clear title to the land and freed the site for development. But it still needed an environmental cleanup, which took several years.
The city spent $510,220 in addition to a $595,535 federal grant to clean up environmental contamination so the site could be marketed to developers.
After the cleanup was completed, the Kessinger Hunter property management company spent about a year soliciting proposals locally, regionally and nationally. But it didn’t attract the kind of development that the city is seeking, according to Claude Page, division manager for urban redevelopment with Kansas City municipal government.
So Kansas City is trying again with its own request for proposals, due Nov. 15.
Page said the city is hopeful because the development climate in that area has improved in the past year. Some developers have expressed interest, but the city wanted to cast a wide net to see what opportunities emerge, he said.
Alissia Canady, 5th District councilwoman, also is optimistic because of new development along the 63rd Street corridor, from the Brookside neighborhood to the Soccer Village in Swope Park, to improvements at Research Medical Center.
“This is the perfect public/private partnership opportunity for the developers interested in the site,” she said in a news release.