Shared Spaces: Center for Urban Enterprise

by Support KC

This proposed project – referred to as the Center for Urban Enterprise (CUE) is scheduled to open in November 2018. It involves the repurposing of a vacant industrial building that buffers the residential section from a light manufacturing section of Kansas City’s Westside South Neighborhood. The adaptive reuse of this facility will create the region’s only bilingual mixed-use business incubation / entrepreneur resource center that is affordable to low-income underserved individuals and businesses. Hispanic Economic Development Corporation‘s (HEDC) Center for Urban Enterprise (CUE) is in a geographically strategic location near the MO-KS state line and along main bus routes that connect to underserved communities both in Kansas and Missouri.

When the choice was made to purchase this building, in 2009 there was a belief in the goodness of it.
It was once the ‘Home’ to a thriving business, a wire manufacturer, in the days of oppression and hard labor. The day to day activity within its walls fed many families in the neighborhood. This was a time when jobs were scarce. The rail yards were struggling. Much of the daily toils went unnoticed. The automobile industry was launched, and new careers were pioneered.

This ‘work ethic’ set the tone for the visionaries ahead. And it was this vision, this same search for business paths, that inspired the HEDC leadership to ‘take the chance’!

And today, this chance has been reinvigorated with life…the building’s bones are still solid. The core is sound. The lives of its predecessors are very much followed by today’s young entrepreneurs.

This rich history serves as the inspiration for the design of its new users – our city’s underserved entrepreneurs.

“We will bring back the character, the charm, the spirit of this cultural icon, Design will live…through the inventions and discoveries that lie ahead, within its boundaries” said Rafael Garcia, architect for CUE. “We must not let our ancestral leadership down. We must look to the future. This building’s design will speak to all. For all. For their families. For their children. Today’s technology within the renovated building will once again bring life and charm to this neighborhood. It will liven this culturally rich community with future leaders. Leaders of home. Leaders of race. Leaders of mind.”

Click here to see the evolution of our project. http://kchedc.org/hedc/community/acebo/
Slide one the building as it looks today,
Slide two the conceptual design created by a community student.
Slide three the Center for Urban Enterprise.

In 2009, the old, abandoned wire factory was bought by HEDC, to stop the facility from being used as a warehouse storage and truck maintenance yard. HEDC surveyed the residents, clients and community at-large and the idea of making it a much-needed space for low-income & bilingual small business and workforce training center was born. A competition was held with neighbors to create a conceptual design. This project proposes: (a) the construction and development of a 22,000 Sq. ft. business innovation center that will house a fully-licensed, below-market rental Commercial Kitchen Incubator (approx. 5000 sq. ft.) to serve the labor and business needs of local food system that is seeking sustainability during the start-up and growth phases of their respective businesses, packaging capabilities for distribution; (b) provide below-market co-working office Incubator space to offer local emerging businesses a complete “one-stop” small business management experience; (c) create an environment where ideas by women and underrepresented ideas can be elevated; (d) integrate technology into small business; (e) tool our workforce for technology jobs.

HEDC will relocate their current office to this location. Today, HEDC provides business development service to underserved clients, at both our Jefferson street main office and the CUE North East location, sense the CUE NE facility opened over 100 small business and computer clients have received business and digital literacy instruction.