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KANSAS CITY, MO-A bond issue to help jump-start the East Village Redevelopment project, expected to cost about $360 million, has been closed for the city by Stern Brothers & Co. The $29.3 million issue is to help fund infrastructure improvements, land acquisition, remediation and construction of a 750-space parking garage, all part of phase one of the project, which includes the $59 million new headquarters now being built for developer JE Dunn. The bonds are financed by a TIF set up for the project.

Dunn was joined by locally-based Swope Community Builders and Minneapolis-based Sherman Associates in redevelopment plans for the 12-block area northeast of City Hall. Dunn’s new world headquarters, which the company will use to consolidate offices it has throughout the city, will be five stories and 204,000 sf. Future phases are to include 1,183 new housing units and 87,200 sf of retail.

The project will revitalize an area of the city that’s been blighted for too long, says Tom Moriarty, managing director of Stern Bros. “It’s had run-down hotels, and vacant gas stations and sporting goods stores,” he tells GlobeSt.com. “But this project should really add to how the Downtown is being turned around. It’s really exciting now, what they’re doing with areas such as the Power and Light District, which is just seven or eight blocks from East Village.”

The Power and Light area includes the new H&R Block headquarters tower, as well as plans for four residential towers. The city is also trying to court the GSA to locate a proposed 600,000-sf building in the East Village area. The project has had some questions; Dunn has been lauded for its decision to remain Downtown, but city manager Wayne Cauthen has reportedly said that he’s looking for Swope and Sherman to give more assurances that they will uphold their end of the project. The two firms have not come forward with final plans yet, he said.

Dunn’s new building, set to be ready by August 2009 for more than 500 employees at 11th and Locust streets, is being built according to the LEED Gold certification standards, said company officials in a statement. The company plans to recycle or divert at least 75% of all construction waste from the landfill, use energy alternatives to help curb gas usage, bring in up to 20% of all building materials from within 500 miles of the site, and use 40% less water than EPA standards. The new HQ is costing about $40.5 million, and the parking garage will cost $18.3 million.

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