By Kevin Collison
Goodwill is selling its former office, training and warehouse facility at 18th and Campbell, opening a strategic redevelopment opportunity between the East Crossroads and 18th & Vine Jazz District.
The agency board has decided to sell the building its occupied for 80 years after recently relocating to new space nearby at 800 E. 18th St.
Goodwill’s former 1.5-acre property is located midpoint in the developing East 18th Street corridor that could someday link downtown with 18th & Vine.
“Goodwill has been a visible presence in the East 18th street area for decades, and as we see this revitalization take place we want to be a part of it,” said Rick Otis, chairman of the organization board.
The four-story, 78,000 square-foot building being offered for sale originally was built in 1923 and had an addition completed in 1977. No price has been determined.
“We’ll see what the market bears,” said Ed Lada, Goodwill president and CEO.
Lada said his agency plans to hire a broker next month to guide the transaction.
In recent years, the East Crossroads has been attracting new investment, growing steadily east along 18th Street from its core between Oak and Cherry streets.
Lada said the board of Goodwill would like the property to be redeveloped in a way that complements his agency’s mission serving people with diverse abilities seeking employment as well as the larger plans for East 18th Street.
“We are hopeful the eventual new owners of the property come in with an understanding of the beautiful artisan culture of the East Crossroads, the excitement that the Keystone Innovation District will bring and an appreciation of the history and allure of 18th & Vine,” he said.
The Keystone Innovation District proposal is being pitched as a cooperative effort by foundations, companies and universities to create an entrepreneurial center to nurture startup businesses.
A location at 18th and Troost is being considered for a potential facility.
The new Goodwill space across the street from its previous quarters represented a great opportunity for the organization, Lada said. It’s being leased from Abbott Properties, a major East Crossroads property owner.
“This space has been transformative for us,” he said. “We were in that big building for 80 years on four stories and spaced around so departments maybe talked once a week.
“Now we talk to each other all the time. The importance of this space has had on our organization has been profound. It’s boosted morale and pushed us into the next century.”
The 35,000 new facility includes 11,000 square feet for offices, 7,500 square feet for warehouse use and 15,000 square feet for a new retail outlet that’s scheduled to open this spring.
“We see a tremendous opportunity to better serve our community and grow our mission through the opening of a retail store here and providing more services that can help people develop job skills that will help them get and keep meaningful employment,” Otis said.
The new store will employ about 20 people with a $300,000 annual payroll. Over the next three- to four years, Goodwill of Western Missouri and Eastern Kansas plans to open eight new stores.
In addition to providing jobs, the stores will divert an estimated 1.5 million pounds of goods from landfills.
Lada came to Kansas City in May 2018 to lead the regional Goodwill operation which employs 550 people. Before arriving, he had worked for Goodwill in New Orleans five years.
“I love it here, there’s such an energy in the town that gets me jazzed,” he said. “It’s a vibrant time to be here
“We love being in the East Crossroads. Seeing all of the development over the last few years, we are excited to still be in the neighborhood and watch it blossom into one of the premier spots in Kansas City as it relates to culture, creativity, food and jazz.”
Don’t miss any downtown news, sign up for our weekly CityScene KC email review here.