18th & Vine Concept called ‘Beale Street’, Sparks Council Clash
Posted 45 minutes ago
Image credit above: The facade of the historic Eblon Theater at 1822 Vine Street would be saved and incorporated into a $23 million redevelopment plan submitted to City Hall. (Kevin Collison | Flat Earth)
A proposed $23 million mixed-use redevelopment that would add apartments and commercial space to 18th and Vine District is opposed by city council members who fear it could turn the neighborhood into another ‘Beale Street’ .
“On this first day in Black History, we are working to protect the 18th and Vine Historic District from displacement that is too often the result of gentrification,” Third District Councilman Melissa Robinson said in a tweet. last week.
“We will not be another Beale Street,” she added, referring to the popular entertainment district in the black shopping area of downtown Memphis, Tennessee.
Robinson, along with Third District Councilman Brandon Ellington overall, want the redevelopment proposal rejected. The project would be located in their neighborhood.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Fifth District Councilman Lee Barnes, Jr. support the proposal submitted by longtime area developers McCormack Baron Salazar and Taliaferro & Browne for the West Side of Vine between 18th and 19th streets. .
They responded to a request for proposals (RFP) issued by the city with a redevelopment concept that would save the historic facades along the street, including the Eblon Theater and the Roberts Building.
Their proposal calls for the construction of 33,000 square feet of retail on the first floor behind the old facades under two levels of residential space totaling 54 apartments. The project also includes 28 parking spaces.
There are no renders available and the project is in the early planning stages.
The developers said their $23 million redevelopment proposal had an $8 million funding shortfall.
Currently, the redevelopment site is mainly composed of parking lots and abandoned buildings. The facades of the old buildings were retouched as backdrops during the filming of Robert Altman’s film “Kansas City” released in 1996.
Developer Tony Salazar said the proposed project would be similar to apartment projects his company has developed on the sidelines of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum and the American Jazz Museum.
Lucas and Barnes could not be reached for comment.
Robinson and Ellington submitted an order to council asking the city to reject the current proposal and issue a new request for proposals.
None of the board members could be reached directly for comment. But Robinson posted a series of tweets last week accusing developers of trying to “gentrify” the area.
Robinson expressed dissatisfaction with what she said was a failure by city staff to officially release the terms of the agreement. He’s asking the city to sell the redevelopment site to developers for $1.
“The disrespect is real – in no other district would they forget to ‘upload the development agreement for the sale of city property,'” Robinson said.
In another tweet, the adviser defined her position.
“Right now, your two Third District council members have publicly stated that the 18 and Vine agreement doesn’t go far enough in protecting against displacement,” she said. “What we do today will impact us for generations to come.”
Leonard Graham, chairman of Taliaferro & Browne, said he had met with Robinson since she registered her opposition on social media last week.
“There have been a number of misunderstandings regarding the project,” he said. “Quite frankly, I hope this has been sorted out, at least with Ms Robinson.
“Whenever a project is proposed for an area and properties as important to the African-American community as 18th and Vine, sometimes there are misunderstandings about the scope and it creates confusion.”
Graham said if the full City Council approved his group’s proposal for 18 and the Vine, it would likely take at least nine to 10 months before any construction activity began.
Flatland contributor Kevin Collison is the founder of CityScene KCan online source for downtown news and issues.