Kansas City officials kicked off the redevelopment of Kansas City’s historic 18th and Vine Jazz district on Monday with the demolition of the old Black Chamber of Commerce Building at the corner of 18th and Paseo.
The building was vacant and not historic.
The demolition marks 150 days since the Kansas City Council approved $7 million for the first phase of re-development, which includes renovating historic buildings and building a new streetscape and street lighting to better connect the jazz district to the Crossroads district.
Third district councilman Jermaine Reed says these first few months haven’t been without their obstacles, but he remains steadfast in his dedication to the neighborhood.
“I want my friends and neighbors alike to be able to be proud of the community in which we live in but also to be able to increase the foot traffic the retail spaces so this is a thriving part of town that is so authentic,” he said.
Nearly $500,000 will be used to acquire properties previously owned by the Jazz District Redevelopment Corporation.
The city has also released requests for proposals for private developers for the historic Boone Theater at 18th and Highland, the American Jazz Museum and Black Archives, and for the block bordered by 18th and 19th streets, The Paseo and Vine Street.
The $7 million phase is the first step in $27 million committed to the area by the city council.
Updates on the 18th and Vine Redevelopment plan, as well as the RFPs, are now available on the city's project page.
Lisa Rodriguez is a reporter and newscaster for KCUR 89.3 Connect with her on Twitter @larodrig.