Blue Hills Unveils New Olive Street Homes

March 13, 2008

KANSAS CITY, MO – A once vacant and overgrown street in the Blue Hills neighborhood will soon celebrate five new single family homes that have been nominated for a prestigious award and boast one of the region’s best energy ratings. Blue Hills Community Services, a nonprofit community development corporation, will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony and public open house for the new Olive Street Homes located at 4912 to 4942 Olive Street on Wed., April 2 at 9:30 a.m.

The Olive Street Homes were recently named a finalist in the 2008 Cornerstone Awards – Single-Family Residential Category sponsored by the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri. Three distinct housing floor plans were constructed between 49th and 50th streets and Olive Street and named after famous Kansas City jazz musicians: The Webster, The McShann and The Turner. Designs blend the “Bungalow” and “Farmhouse” home styles that make living in the Blue Hills neighborhood popular. The three-bedroom, two- or two-and-a-half bathroom homes are from 1,540 to 1,569 square feet in size and have oversized one-car garages and full basements. They are priced from $142,000 to $148,000.

“At a time when energy efficiency is critical to homeowners, we have built high-quality homes that will be sustainable for residents,” said Joanne Bussinger, Blue Hills Community Services Executive Director. “We are very aware that the second highest cost to owning a home is the energy expense, and if residents can’t afford their utility bills, then it’s difficult to stay in their homes.”

The Olive Street Homes have been Energy Star® Qualified by an independent professional organization and exceed strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The five homes achieved a Home Energy Rating System (HERS) score between 60 and 70, which is 30 to 40 percent more energy efficient than a house built to the latest energy code standards.

“HUD is pleased to have contributed funding towards construction of these five Energy Star® homes,” said Paul F. Mohr, Regional Environmental Officer, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. “Creating affordable housing is only part of the picture. By helping families save on their utility bills, Energy Star® homes help keep a home affordable over the long haul. Energy Star homes are also more comfortable, healthier and have higher appraisals, at the same time, the community benefits from reduced greenhouse gas emissions.”

Homeowners also may be eligible for the KC Dream Home Program. The program, offered through the City of Kansas City, Missouri, provides up to $20,000 down payment and closing assistance to qualified buyers purchasing homes in targeted areas.

Olive Street Homes is located in a NeighborhoodsNOW designated area and will benefit from additional attention. A revitalization program of Greater Kansas City LISC, NeighborhoodsNOW transforms neighborhoods into sustainable communities where people want to live and work. “We applaud Blue Hills Community Services for their foresight. The Olive Street Homes are an excellent example of creating sustainable communities that improve residents’ economic condition and net worth,” said Julie Porter, Greater Kansas City LISC Executive Director, which provided operational support during the project.

The project was financed by M&I Bank, the City of Kansas City, Missouri, and through Neighborhood Preservation tax credits from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The project’s contractor is Lang Construction, Inc., the architectural firm is WGN Associates, Inc. and the energy consultant is Hathmore Technologies, LLC.

Blue Hills Community Services, a not-for-profit community development corporation, has been a catalyst for neighborhood development for nearly 34 years. Founded in 1974, BHCS set out to battle social and economic challenges faced by residents of the Blue Hills and surrounding neighborhoods in Kansas City, Missouri. Using a block by block strategy to focus neighborhood revitalization with new and renovated single family homes, multi-family development and home repair services to owner occupants, BHCS ensures neighborhood development is comprehensive and sustainable in creating healthy urban communities. For more information, go to