Renovator sees potential in KC’s revitalization plan for dangerous homes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City`s plan to deal with dangerous homes is good news for residents of the east side, but also good news for investors who see potential profit in participating in the revitalization of the city.

A couple of houses near 24th and Chestnut are two of the 250 houses the city owns and is going to get rid of. The homes have already been usurped by the city, and there are over 500 more that are owned by out-of-state companies, which have given up and walked away from their investment.

Some people in that business say crime is the main reason why.

“These buildings are great, they are in great shape, the foundations are really in great shape. A lot of it`s cosmetic,” said renovator Kenny Brown.

Brown rehabs homes on Kansas City`s east side.

“There`s a lot of potential out here. There is a lot of land, a lot of things that we could do to help the city and bring in more money and make it a safer place for everybody,” said Brown.

While Brown and his company, KC Commercial & Residential, property look for abandoned homes to renovate, he says crime has become almost a deterrent for people like him to invest in the inner city.

This home he showed FOX 4 was recently robbed.

“They stole all of the plumbing, the wiring, the furnace, the water heater, the lighting, some of the faucets, the sinks. They came in and completely ripped out all the countertops, they stole the stove, refrigerator,” Brown detailed.

The theft cost an additional $15,000 to replace and repair the items. Brown is pleased with the city`s plan to spend $10 million tearing down abandoned homes, or offering them for sale for $1.

He says if the blight is removed, more investors will come into the city, which will help with revitalization house by house.

“You have two houses filled and then you have vacant houses; five, 10 in a row, and nobody wants to live near that because of the dangers that are involved in that,” he explained.

But the key to keeping people interested in investing in the inner-city are the people who live there now, Brown says. He is willing to put money in, if his neighbors are willing to help protect his investment by calling the police if they see activity in and around homes that are being rehabbed.

“It`s a good neighborhood, it`s still got a lot of use in it, I think we all need to step up and help each other out,” he said.

Brown says because they have been hit so many times, he waits to install many desirable items until a few days before his tenants move in.

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