Cerner Corp., the health care IT company is building their Cerner Innovations office campus where the old Bannister Mall was. They are currently moving the first 3,000 employees into the first building and they will eventually have a total of 16,000 employees! This is a $4.5 billion campus! These employees are going to want housing and shopping nearby.
The blight analysis, estimated to cost $16,000 to $20,000, would help pave the way for an East Bannister Area Plan, designed to encourage commercial and residential redevelopment.
“We want to start momentum, to create a framework to make properties eligible for PIEA benefits”, Macoubrie said.
Former Kansas City councilman John Sharp, representing the South Kansas City Alliance, said neighborhood groups have endorsed the proposed East Bannister Area Plan.
Sharp said new tenants are needed in the Robandee Shopping Center at Bannister and James A. Reed Road and in the Loma Vista Shopping Center at 87th and Blue Ridge Boulevard and that areas residents are clamoring for “new retail and residential.” He said there also is ‘a lot of vacant land available for multifamily and single family development.”
Steve Renne, business development officer with the Economic Development Corp of Kansas City, said he has attended multiple neighborhood meetings in South Kansas City and that “all thought they needed more goods and services in the area’ plus a general upgrade.
The Cerner Innovations campus along with Cerner’s nearby Realization campus will house thousands of employees who are potential shoppers, diners and nearby residents. But Sharp said it is important to aim for commercial services that the Cerner workers would use and not things like “a luggage store” that they wouldn’t.
Cerner employees have taken an extensive survey about their retail and restaurant preferences to help development officials determine what they might use off campus.
The PIEA vote permits Macoubrie to contract with a company that does blight analysis. A finding of blight is necessary to make tax incentives available to the plan area.
NOW is the time to make the investment before prices increase drastically as development expands. This area WILL be redeveloped, because a $4.5 billion employment investment will support the development. NOW is the time to get in and reap the financial benefits in the years to come.