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Construction of east side grocery store finally begins

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- It's been nearly two years since the city first promised to bring a new grocery store to the Linwood Shopping Center.

Now, after many delays, demolition is finally starting to clear land for the new building.

City leaders say this is an important project for east side revitalization.

It's been ten years since a grocery operated in the shopping center. And during that time, those who live nearby say they've had to travel five to ten miles or more just to buy food.

"I’ve had to drive a little bit," said Marquita Taylor, president of the Sante Fe Area Council.

"I go out by Blue Parkway and other areas, the Sunfresh in other areas, to shop even further out. This being walking distance, I’m going to use it."

Finding a private developer willing to invest in the east side proved to be challenging

The city had to purchase the property nearly a year ago in May for $950,000. It sold bonds to investors to pay that cost.

A longtime grocer with experience in the urban core says he recognized an opportunity to fill an important need for neighbors.

"There’s not any stores around here," said John Lipari, who will operate the store as a Sunfresh. "This is going to be a full service store. We're going to have seafood. We're going to have fresh meat cases, going to have fresh produce. Everything that you expect from a big store we are going to have."

Lipari says he hopes to hire people from the neighborhood to work in the new store. He'll have about 100 employees for a 40,000 square foot supermarket.

Minority owned companies also are involved in renovation and new construction at the site.

Entire redevelopment of the shopping center is expected to cost $13-million. Future property taxes from the stores will be used to pay the redevelopment costs.

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