Hospital Hill apartments ‘tie’ UMKC to city

Lindsay Lillig

On Thursday, Oct. 2, UMKC unveiled its newest union at the grand opening of the Hospital Hill Apartments, located at 25th and Troost across from the Missouri Health Department building. This is the first student housing of any kind on Hospital Hill.
Due to inclement weather, the ribbon ceremony was relocated to the Biery Auditorium of the Health Department building.
“First of all, thank you for opening your doors to us,” said UMKC Chancellor Leo E. Morton as he addressed the packed hall. “We didn’t have the connections we needed for the weather.”
Morton began the ceremony by explaining what exactly a ribbon tying ceremony is.
“Usually we have a ribbon-cutting, but in this case we are going to have a ribbon tying event,” Morton said. “It is going to be very illustrative of what we’re doing here because with this project we are tying together city and state, community and campus, east side and west side and business and government. This building is a statement of what we can do when we work together.”
Following his initial address, Morton welcomed Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander to the podium. After leading guests in a “Let’s go Royals” chant, Kander proceeded to praise and commend the apartments and what they stand for.
“This residence hall is going to help [UMKC] be an even bigger driver for the future of this state,” Kander said. “It is going to help this university attract and train students who are going to be a vital part of that future.”
Kander has supported the project since its initial stages and is thrilled that it is finally ready to open. He is most excited about the prospects connected to development.
“It shows that UMKC is really, truly serious about not just investing in its students, but doing it in a way that encourages them to pursue these high-skilled, high-paying careers right here at home in Kansas City,” Kander said. “It says to a student that would live in this residence hall that ‘you’ve been living and enjoying your time in the heart of this city while you were going to school, so you should stay here and you should pursue that career here.’”
Kander further informed the audience that the project did not come together by magic.
“It is an ideal example of how a partnership of state, local government, UMKC and private partners can come together and, not just figuratively, but literally build something,” Kander said.
The university was awarded a $4.5 million incentive grant from the Missouri Development Finance Board to help fund the project.
Mayor Sly James took the podium following Kander.
“I want to thank you for inviting me to be here with you this morning,” James said. “It is an exciting milestone for UMKC and the Hospital Hill campus. It’s an exciting milestone for this entire community.”
Mayor James expressed his delight in the fruition of the project.
“We waited a long time for those things that we can point to in areas that have been historically underdeveloped,” James said, “and show that this is a sign that people are focused on it and paying attention to the area.”
The development was a $30 million project overall. James considered this a major step in the revitalization of the Beacon Hill area. He went as far as to say the area is not totally transformed. The city has also made a multimillion dollar effort to improve Troost along 24th and 27th streets. There are further developments beyond Hospital Hill, such as single family housing, health-oriented grocery stores and a boutique hotel, that are now underway because of the positive impact of the apartment structure.
“It’s one of those truisms that when you do something grand and right, others want to come be a part of it,” James said. “One thing we do know is that the best things we do in this city—the things that actually matter, the things that actually get done are the ones that we do together. So, congratulations.”