The EDC continues to build on its Big 4 Strategic Plan with several initiatives continuing over the past month.
The Big 4 includes the “587” project for quality development in the largely vacant area surrounding the I-435 and Highway 152 interchange; expansion of the University of Missouri Center for Excellence in Orthopaedics at Liberty Hospital; expansion of the KC Tech Academy in Liberty; and creation of 50 new businesses and 5,000 jobs.
The 587 project is probably the most dramatic. It is focused on major “destination” development of the areas surrounding I-435 and Highway 152 (435 + 152 = 587). The location is among the last undeveloped interchanges on the I-435 loop of Greater Kansas City, and the EDC’s goal is to promote world-class development as a major driver for Clay County’s future.
EDC Executive Director David Slater explains that the goal is to spur developments that will draw people to Clay County and identify this region as a truly first-class area. Even a new Royals Stadium is not out of the question.
“It’s a longshot, but you don’t get it unless you try,” Slater noted. “It shows the level we’re targeting. The sky is the limit.”
Working with the Olsson engineering and design firm, the EDC has begun to identify what types of development would be best suited to the area. Meetings have been held with the Kansas City Council, area landowners and others. “We’re getting input from a lot of people,” Slater said. “We want people to tell us what they’ve seen that’s really cool in the world or in the United States. That’s the kind of development we want in the 587 area.”
Although the focus is still general, features outlined so far include Type A office, entertainment and hospitality venues like regional conference centers, arenas and more.
The effort is not taking place in a vacuum. The EDC also meets regularly with economic development professionals from Clay County communities. Some of the best discussions are surprisingly wide-ranging. “We all get in the same room and talk about our challenges and opportunities,” Slater said. “If we can help each other out and share ideas, that’s a good thing.”