MU pulling out of innovation park in suburban KC

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri is pulling out as the main tenant of a proposed “innovation park” in suburban Kansas City to allow the university to streamline its operations in Jackson County.

The proposed Missouri Innovation Park in Blue Springs was expected to create a business park focusing on science technology and research, possibly attracting dozens of companies. Nothing has been done on the project since Blue Springs spent $2.3 million on 24 acres to accommodate it, The Kansas City Star reported (http://bit.ly/1lpv9dl ).

The university announced Thursday that it will vacate leased space at the site by September, citing changing circumstances in technology and the economy.

A 2008 memorandum of understanding between the university, city and the Blue Springs Economic Development Corporation outlined a plan to eventually to create a business park, with the university as the anchor tenant.

Officials had expected in 2012 to break ground for a building to house university operations by the first quarter of this year. Blue Springs officials said Thursday the city had made no significant investment in the project since buying the land.

The university explained its change of plans in a statement on the city’s website Thursday.

“Technology has changed the way we deliver our services, the economy has continued to challenge us financially, and some traditional funding sources have become less dependable,” the statement said.

Blue Springs Mayor Carson Ross said on the website that officials were disappointed but optimistic.

“Retooling our economic development goals for the Innovation Park and engaging new partners will strengthen our strategy going forward,” Ross said.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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