By Kevin Collison
The developers of the 2000 Vine historic redevelopment are beginning to taste the fruits of their hard work over the past three years, but are candid describing how tough it can be doing projects on the East Side.
“It’s become painfully clear and obvious why development has been difficult east of Troost,” said Jason Parson, who’s grandfather was the great Kansas City jazz pianist Jay McShann.
“It’s not only been the personal investment we’ve had to make, but we’ve been dealing with broken windows and vandalism.
“It’s easy to give up, but when this commitment is for your community, you persist.”
Parson was joined by his partners Shomari Benton and Tim Duggan at a construction open house earlier this week at the first of the two, 150 year-old buildings they’re renovating at 2000 Vine, about 1 1/2 blocks from the core of the 18th & Vine Jazz District.
Three years ago, the structures were limestone ruins, roofless, windowless and covered with graffiti.
Now, a new roof is up, windows installed and the partners hope to have the first floor of the north building, the former City Water Department building, completed by this Fall.
That’s where they plan to office their firms: Parsons + Associates; Duggan’s phronesis, architecture, and Benton’s law firm Benton, Lloyd & Chung. The space offers a panoramic view of downtown skyline.
The garden level below, which once housed the stables for work horses, will be an event space and kitchen that opens to a 1.6-acre courtyard and lawn behind the buildings.
The developers plan to use cobblestones salvaged from the city’s earliest paved streets in the City Market area to build the patio.
The second structure on the south, the former City Public Works building, is expected to be renovated by late 2022.
That’s where Vine Street Brewing expects to occupy 3,000 square feet on the first level and lower level opening to the same outdoor space. Vine Street would be the city’s first Black-owned microbrewery.
Other tenants, including Shanita McAfee-Bryant, are in negotiations with the developers of 2000 Vine. She is starting a culinary workforce development program called The Prospect Urban Eatery that has attracted funding from the Kauffman Foundation.
McAfee-Bryant is looking at space in the south building.
“Our place would be a coffee and pastry shop, and another food concept led by culinary training students,” she said.
The developers have invested $1 million so far and have obtained a $1.1 million loan from the Enterprise Bank & Trust. Duggan estimated the total cost of redeveloping both buildings at $5 million. The project also received a 25-year property tax abatement from the city.
The contractor for the project is BCCM Construction Group and Duggan’s firm, phronesis, is the architect.
The 2000 Vine redevelopment isn’t the only activity stirring on the south side of the 18th & Vine District.
A group led by former City Councilman Kelvin Simmons has submitted a plan to the city called One Nine Vine that includes a $25.6 million, 80-unit apartment building with ground level retail in its first phase at the southeast corner of 19th and Vine.
The second phase of One Nine Vine planned for the southwest corner of 19th and Vine would be 7,000 square-feet of ground floor retail, a 30,000 square-foot super market, 200 “middle income” apartments and more than 150 parking spaces.
Parson enjoyed the open house event, which included a guest appearance by City Councilman Lee Barnes, Jr. and breakfast boxes supplied by McAfee-Bryant and The Prospect.
“It’s been a heavy lift, but something we’re very proud of,” he said.
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