Housing

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

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It's makes for dramatic pictures but more importantly, it's improving the neighborhood.

Kansas City — in partnership with donated services from Kissick Construction and Industrial Wrecking — started tearing down blighted homes Tuesday morning in the 2000 block of Chelsea Ave. It's the second phase of a $10 million dollar program. 

Mayor Sly James says the city will start with 23 homes the  city owns in it's Land Bank.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The historic Power & Light Building, a beloved Kansas City landmark, is embarking on a new life as one of the city’s swankiest apartment addresses.

With a grand opening set for Tuesday, the Power & Light Apartments redevelopment joins an increasingly competitive downtown market.  

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Can data help Kansas City, Kansas, reverse decades of urban decay?

Mayor Mark Holland thinks so.

It’s economics 101, the mayor says: property values plummet when there are more houses than people. That’s what happened when white families started to leave Kansas City, Kansas, in the 1960s. 

“Thirty-thousand fewer people is about 10,000 empty homes,” Holland says, “which has become about 6,000 vacant lots.”

More minorities moved in but not fast enough to make up for the population loss. Today, fewer than 150,000 people live in Kansas City, Kansas.

It might seem cramped to you, but there are plenty of reasons people consider downsizing into a tiny home.  Young adults who've been priced out of living in the city, retirees who prefer a tiny home on wheels to a giant RV, even folks whose finances were upended by the recession, are all driving a trend toward smaller, more economical living spaces.

Guest:

courtesy of Heidi Holliday / Rosedale Development Association

A gas explosion Tuesday morning destroyed one of the buildings in the Rosedale Ridge housing complex, an affordable housing project which closed in 2015 due to poor conditions.

The Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department reported heavy damage to the building, one of six in the complex. The building has been torn down.

Jake Joslyn for KCUR 89.3

In case you blinked, today is April 1, 2046.

The Royals opener is next week. The team is hoping to recreate that glorious season from 31 years ago. So here at KCUR 89.3, we’re looking back three decades to see how much has changed in Kansas City since the last time we were World Series champs.

The biggest turning point for our region happened on July 19, 2035, on Kaw Point Beach. Mayor Alex Gordon signed the Mo-Kan Unified Government charter, creating a single metropolitan area across state line.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

The city of Kansas City, Missouri recently announced $10 million in its budget to demolish hundreds of homes that are rotting in urban neighborhoods.

These homes are not only an eyesore, but attract squatters and crime.

The funds are meant to help get rid of more than 800 homes on the city’s dangerous buildings list. But when residents got wind of the program, they cried out to save some of the homes. 

Millions of Americans are evicted every year because they can’t make the rent. For poor families already struggling with finances, the repercussions of being evicted can be crushing.

Guest:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

The year 2015 was a tumultuous one for some 350 residents of an affordable housing complex in Kansas City, Kansas. They had been complaining for years about conditions in the apartments, like broken or missing appliances, electrical fires, black mold.

The owner’s rental license was revoked, but residents were unsure when and if they’d get housing vouchers to move elsewhere. And they couldn’t get any help from their landlords.

Timothy Dorset / Stinson Leonard Street LLP

It’s not often you see a bunch of high priced lawyers sitting side by side community activists in a neighborhood meeting hall.

That’s what happened Friday.

They showed up at the Marlborough Community Center at 82nd and Paseo in Kansas City, Missouri because Legal Aid of Western Missouri was getting a grant.

Legal Aid received $257,441 to fund a program that pairs private law firms with blighted neighborhoods. The project is called Adopt-A –Neighborhood.

We meet a proponent from the Tiny House Collective, a local group that's all about downsizing and living in much smaller homes — and we discuss what it means for affordability, efficiency and a different way to live.

Caroline Kull / KCUR

A final Kansas City Council decision regarding a proposed Catholic student housing project located at 53rd and Troost Avenue was expected last week.

But instead, the council deferred the decision, suggesting the groups work more to resolve the conflict through mediation.

The proposed 237-bedroom dorm pits members of the surrounding neighborhoods and St. Francis Xavier Parish against the Catholic Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. The building would be built just next to the church on the site of a former elementary school that is now vacant, which is owned by the diocese. 

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

Driving up the hill to the Rosedale Ridge apartment complex, it's hard to imagine that anyone lives at the top of this steep incline. But the steps cut into the side of the road tell a different story: 350 low-income residents live in six squat buildings and most them don't have cars. They walk up and down this hulking hill multiple times a day. 

But probably not for long — Rosedale Ridge is on the verge of being shut down because of terrible conditions. Residents have mixed feelings about their departure, if it even happens at all. 

Kansas City is offering some assurances to a developer who filed a complaint with the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Eagle Point Development is charging the city with attempting to force low-income African-American tenants out of their apartments on East Armour Boulevard.

The City Council has made no public comment.  But the full body and the Housing Committee spent several hours in closed session this week, presumably discussing the legal issues. 

BasicGov / Flickr-CC

New numbers on foreclosures in Missouri and Kansas show promising signs of economic stability for both states.

Real estate information company RealtyTrac reports that foreclosure rates in Kansas dropped 31 percent from July to September. In Missouri, the numbers dropped even lower for the same period — a 45.5 percent decrease.

RealtyTrac spokeswoman Ginny Walker said that in terms of foreclosures, both states are back to pre-housing crisis numbers. She attributes the progress to consistently low unemployment rates in both states.

A Maine-based development company that owns several low-income housing units in Kansas City, Mo., filed a federal fair housing complaint against the city Thursday.

The Eagle Point Companies alleges the city and various city officials intentionally discriminated "against African-Americans who reside and/or who seek to reside in Bainbridge, Georgian Court and Linda Vista Apartments located in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri," according to the complaint.

Cara McClain / KCUR

Blanche Thomas wants neighbors. She has been living in the Ivanhoe neighborhood at 34th Street and Brooklyn Avenue in Kansas City, Mo., since 1956.

Back then, there was a grocery store and dry cleaners across the street. Houses stood on either side of hers. But now, the block looks different.

“It has changed 100 percent because in the block that I live in there are no houses,” Thomas says. “There are no people living on my block, only my son and I.”

The two apartment buildings across the street stand empty. Thomas bought the two lots on either side of her house.

Jonathan Greenwald / Flickr-CC

It's difficult to go from living on the street to living in what most of us consider to be normal housing. That's a real challenge many homeless vets face.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, we talk about the St. Michael Center and how it's helping veterans make that difficult life transition.

Guests:

  • Eric Verzola, director of Veterans Services Catholic Charities of Kansas City-St. Joseph
  • Art Fillmore, St. Michael’s Veterans Center Board Member
CC Wikimedia

    

With the foliage at its finest, "For Sale" signs are popping up in front of houses all over town. Home ownership is a staple of the American Dream but in reality renting may make more sense.

On Monday's Central Standard, the Cash Money Crew explores the age old question of whether to rent or buy.

Guests: 

  • Lucas Bucl, Financial Planner, KHC Wealth Management 
  • David Jackson, Financial Planning Association
  • Sandi Weaver, Financial Security Advisors
Vincent Parsons / Flickr Creative Commons

An Indianapolis firm has been chosen to develop the first phase of the Berkley Riverfront Development. The deal between the Port Authority of Kansas City and Flaherty & Collins marks the starting point for the Authority’s master plan to create “a world class urban village” on a 55-acre site. When finished there will be apartments, parking, office space, and retail shopping. On Thursday's Up to Date Steve Kraske finds out the details of the Berkley Riverfront Development.

Guests:

Cerner Corporation

Home construction skyrocketed 88% over last year's developments this April. In the second half of Monday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with Kansas City Star development reporter Kevin Collison about the jump in growth in the metro area.

We'll look at Cerner's expanded office campus where the Bannister Mall once stood, a new $50 million River Market apartment complex, and UMKC's site near the Kauffman Center for the Conservatory of Music.

Guest:

Pam Morris/ Flickr-CC

If you saw a school bus stop to pick up children at a motel, what would you think? One Kansas City man who saw just that decided to help.

www.barstoconstruction.com

In the 1980’s, some of the public housing units in Kansas City were infested with rats, mice and cockroaches. Plumbing and electrical problems put the health and safety of residents at risk. Complaints to the housing authority were ignored and it seemed to be an organization more about serving political needs of a select few than a place organized to provide people clean, safe, affordable housing. Under such circumstances crime became problematic.

The latest report from the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors suggests that the average sales price of an existing home is up 15 percent from a year ago, and the average sales price of a new home is up about 16 percent from December 2011.  On the other hand 4% of homes currently on the market are in foreclosure.  As the housing market begins to recover from the Recession, those buying and selling houses are facing different issues. Mary Hutchison, a Kansas City relator and Mike Cash, Senior Loan Officer at a1 Mortgage talk about this shift on this Central Standard. 

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

In  announcing it would add 2,000 jobs to its Claycomo Assembly Plant, Ford Motor cited increased  sales tied to new stability in the home building market.   At the truck factory, Ford executives drew parallels that are being seen industry-wide.

Signs KC Home Sales Are On The Rise

Jun 13, 2012
Dan Whitney, LandMarketing

Sellers, realtors and even buyers are taking note – the KC housing market is changing. On this Wednesday's Central Standard, a look at signs the market’s on the rebound.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Like many young couples, Jeremy and Elizabeth Bixby want kids, more space and a better neighborhood. So a year ago last March, they decided to sell their 40-year-old duplex in northern Overland Park, near Shawnee Mission Drive and Metcalf.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The Department of Housing and Urban Development is funding a one million dollar renovation of more upscale low-income townhouses in central Kansas City.

"Broadly-speaking, home prices continued to decline in the early months of the year," according to economist David Blitzer, chairman of the Index Committee at S&P Indices.

KC Civil Rights Summit

Apr 23, 2012
Auntie P / Flickr

On this Monday's Central Standard we speak with Ayanna Hightower-Mannon and Paul Pierce, who work in Kansas City's Civil Rights Division.

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