For decades Troost Avenue has been Kansas City's shorthand for separation: East from West, Black from White, Poverty from Opportunity.
This partition, a legacy of government policy that promotes discrimination and neglect, resolves. A wave of economic development, which has been pressing for years from west, has broken through. Between 24 and 52 streets there are more than 800 new apartments and a hotel under construction or in the planning pipeline.
The once live shopping district at 31 Street is on its way to renewal. Home rehabilitation and infill construction that started in Beacon Hill, swings south through downtown, Squier Park and the Manheim Park neighborhoods.
However, with the transformation, Troost risks becoming a shorthand for another form of historical failure: the absence of city policies to provide affordable housing and protect long-term residents from displacement.
Despite the city's urgent need for low and moderate income homes, almost all of the corridor's new apartments will be "market rate" ̵[ads1]1; even after developers (MAC Properties, Milhaus and UC-B, among others) received tax reductions and other incentives to invest in a furious society. This means that the units will be largely out of reach of those who do under the city's median household income of $ 51,235.
Unlike most major cities, Kansas City does not require housing developers to set aside a portion of their new units as "affordable," or cost a family no more than 30 percent of their gross income.
"Let's be honest. It's not bad to build more expensive homes for people who can afford it," says Justin Mathews, Managing Director of Reconciliation Services, 30-year-old community development nonprofit at 31st and Troost. "The pleasure is that we do it without providing for thousands of families struggling to survive and succeed on the eastern side. "
Within a mile radius of Mathews office, 50 percent of households make less than $ 25,000 a year, according to population data. percent is led by a parent twice in the statewide award.
On 30th Street, workers put the latest details on apartments and shops in what had been an industrial bakery. But in Wonder Lofts, where two-bedroom apartments go for $ 1,100 to over $ 1,300 a month, a single parent with two children will have to earn about $ 25 an hour – more than twice as much as Missouri's minimum salary will be in 2023 with the last pass of Proposition B – to rent there.
"We build Troost. We build all these nice condos and things, but who do we really build? "Asked Linda Benson, 71, who has lived in several Eastern neighborhoods in the mid-century city." You know that minority people can not pay $ 1200 for rent. It's ridiculous. So who are you building up for?
It is a matter of the local real estate industry that at least one segment of Troost is the next crossroads, department store and industrial area that developed into art galleries, restaurants and elegant apartments.
"Things happen faster here than the crossroads," says Jason. Carter-Solomon, Vice President of Enterprise Bank and Trust, an active lender in the area. "You have many people squeaking consolation."
A clear political choice & # 39;
For the most part, the new construction is aimed at attracting young professionals and their families. erected in the suburbs, has been priced out of a recently expensive city center, but will be close to work in an authentic urban environment.
Housing attorneys said City Hall – not developers – is responsible for not ensuring that the new home on Troost will be available for a blend of income levels.
"Low income and moderate income earners deserve assurances that there is a place for them at Troost, both now and in the future," said Matt Nugent, an architect who lives in Squier Park. "And developers need to know from the beginning of a project what will be required by them in terms of affordable housing. Unfortunately, we do not have a housing policy that does any of these things."
The city introduced a draft of its first housing policy in September , demanding a $ 75 million public-private housing fund and the creation or conservation of at least 5,000 affordable homes and apartments by the end of 2023.
Although approved by city council, the plan is no more than a modest start. Officials estimate that 7,000 extra affordable units are needed for families who make less than $ 15,000 a year. Households in the $ 50,000 to $ 75,000 series face a deficit of more than 10,000 affordable places.
Commander Quinton Lucas and mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner, both candidates for the Mayor in 2019, sponsor his own package of initiatives. They include the requirement that developers seeking financial incentives from the city make up 15 percent of the new units to households to or under 80 percent of city media income, or about 41,000 dollars a year.
Other ideas in the game include freezing property tax for long-term owners in areas with rapidly rising home values and limiting tax credits available to those who rehabbing existing homes or building new ones.
These issues and the possible regulations, Has been clear and urgent for many years. Yet, only in the past year, by Mayor Sly James's second four-year period, affordability has become a problem with front burners.
Why has it taken so long?
Lucas, chairman of the housing committee, said he has experienced resistance from James and the city leader Troy Schulte, whom he called important allies in any attempt to cope with the complexity of affordable housing.
"I think when you look at Kansas City for the past eight years, it's about airports and infrastructure and keeps the moment going," said Lucas, who runs his first council. "It was a clear political choice."
James said in an e-mail statement that it has taken Schult's office time "to gather data and information needed to create a comprehensive housing policy", including collaboration with the Greater Kansas City Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) on a thorough investigation of the local housing market.
James also noted that he created his own housing committee when the current council took office in 2015, decoupling it from neighborhoods and making Lucas to the chair because of the importance of affordable.
"The decision of a comprehensive policy is appropriate
Developers along Troost said that any new city policy must come with an acknowledgment that even with tax incentives, lower rents will require more capital to do projects econo misk viable. Banks lend themselves to the cash flow a building is expected to produce. Investors expect an annual return of 10 percent and upwards.