Every year, the Kansas City Industrial Council is highlighting some of the area’s most prominent leaders who are leading the way for smart industrial development across the region. The organization’s annual Brick-by-Brick awards recognizes individuals and companies that have made an outstanding contribution to the economic strength of Kansas City’s traditional industrial areas. Considerations for nominations include capital improvements, job creation, improved infrastructure or relocation or expansion projects. Here’s a look at this year’s honorees.
Bill Haw’s new residential development, Stockyards Place, captured much deserved attention as a complementary project to the millions of dollars he has invested in redevelopment throughout the Stockyards District and West Bottoms. The two-story concrete frame project consists of 11 high-end residential units as well as ground level commercial space.
Jerry Dean of MDC Inc. also took home an award for his redevelopment of the former Universal Manufacturing building in the Northeast industrial area. Dean renovated the space and divided the building into two leasable spaces, renovating the building to add new offices, warehouse LED lighting, and multiple dock doors. One of those spaces now belongs to 24/7 Logistics.
John McDonald and Jamie Jeffries were also honored for gradually changing the landscape of the East Bottoms over the past few years. By scooping up one blighted building after another and adding a little TLC, McDonald and Jeffries have now collected a handful of showpiece properties including the old fire station at the corner of Guinotte and Montgall, which is now home to Bottoms Up LLC, as well as the storefronts on Guinotte that house The Local Pig, Urban Provisions General Store, and a soon-to-open restaurant. In the Northeast Industrial Association area, McDonald and Jeffries have also renovated the 15,000-square-foot warehouse that J. Rieger & Co. now uses as a distillery, as well as the 45,000-square-foot Bottle Shop. The partners are also responsible for the increase in urban farming in industrial districts and have formed partnerships with community agencies like The Giving Grove Orchard. Lastly, in addition to creating 50 new jobs, McDonald and Jeffries secured a Brownfield grant to fund phase one and two environmental assessments for the area, which will be an impetus for further development within that district.
Public partners recognized by KCIC include those who participated in the Blue River channelization project, which aimed to protect the homes and businesses along the Blue River from flooding that has been 50 years in the making, the organization says. Since 1983, construction has been underway on a 12-mile long channel project from the Missouri River to 63rd Street. Now complete, the project lowered the floodplain along the Blue River by six to eight feet and cleaned up the area in the process. Partners involved on the project include Lt. Col. Storm E. Reynolds, Deputy Commander, US Army Corps of Engineers – Kansas City District; Lynda Hoffman, Missouri and Associated Rivers Coalition; and Terry Winbush, Blue River Project Manager for Kansas City Water Services.
KCIC also honored Sean O’Byrne and Bill Dietrich of the Downtown Council for their efforts to convert the Kansas City Early Release Center, a former halfway house, into a minimum-security prison in the West Bottoms. What was once a problematic and expensive nuisance for residents and businesses has now been converted into a safer alternative for the area, which has led to more investment in the district. The inmates will now service the area by cleaning up blight and trash in the West Bottoms and other industrial districts in Kansas City.
KCIC also recognized Major Sharon Laningham and Eric Bosch for their commitment to the new East Patrol Division and Crime Lab for the KCMO Police Department at 27th and Prospect in east Kansas City. The $74 million project consists of a 118,000-square-foot campus that incorporates special features like a colorful ceramic art walkway created by neighborhood children and resident. Bricks used in the building’s exterior were harvested from demolished houses and structures that once stood where the lab stands today. In addition to the lab and patrol station, part of the facility for public use include a community room, computer lab and gym.