The Most Beautiful Place in Kansas City

All of us at Make It Right are big fans of Kansas City, Missouri – its grand parks and fountains, stately old homes, schools and office buildings and the beautiful fall colors you see everywhere around town this time of year.

But we think one KC spot has all the rest beat. On Saturday, November 9, we cut the ribbon on our latest project, Bancroft School Apartments in Kansas City’s Manheim Park neighborhood. Over the last year, we worked with our local partners, like Dalmark Group, NHS and the Green Impact Zone, to renovate a badly damaged historic school and build new homes. See pictures from the ribbon cutting / opening day here.

Built in 1904 and abandoned and boarded up for more than 13 years, Bancroft School reopened to provide residents with 50 affordable rental units and community amenities, including an auditorium, gym, computer lab and gardens. New town homes, designed by Kansas City-based BNIM Architects, were built around the perimeter of the school to add additional housing.

Interior of an apartment before renovation. (credit: K. Cadena)

Interior of an apartment before renovation. (credit: K. Cadena)

A two bedroom apartment after renovation (credit: C. Jackson)

A two bedroom apartment after renovation (credit: C. Jackson)

New town homes designed by BNIM Architects (credit: C. Jackson).

New town homes designed by BNIM Architects (credit: C. Jackson).

Bancroft School Apartments meet the highest standards of green building. Some of the sustainable features of the building include:

  • a 75 kilowatt solar array – more than 400 panels strong – installed the historic building’s roof
  • 2,220 gallons of no-VOC paint, donated by Benjamin Moore from their Aura and Natura lines
  • 40,000 square feet of Cradle to Cradle certified hardwood flooring and carpet, donated by Shaw Floors from their EPIC flooring line
  • Occupancy sensors to manage energy consumption and costs, donated by Leviton
  • Energy-efficient windows
  • Fresh air ventilation
  • Pervious concrete parking lot
  • Reclaimed brick walkways
  • Native landscaping

Roof of the Bancroft School before renovation (credit K. Cadena)

Roof of the Bancroft School before renovation (credit K. Cadena)

Solar roof – more than 400 panels strong – after renovation (credit: BNIM)

Solar roof – more than 400 panels strong – after renovation (credit: BNIM)


The renovation was a lot of hard work – and we’re very proud of it. But what’s even better is that these high-quality, green, affordable apartments and community spaces will be available to people in need – disabled veterans, youth transitioning out of foster care, senior citizens and low-income families.

And that is what makes this the most beautiful place in Kansas City.

Make It Right's Bancroft School Apartments (credit: C. Jackson).

Make It Right’s Bancroft School Apartments (credit: C. Jackson).

Read statements from Brad Pitt and our Kansas City partners at the ribbon cutting ceremony:

“As a fellow Missourian, it brings me great pride that Make It Right can be of service in my home state,” said Brad Pitt, Make It Right’s founder. “This beautiful building will provide housing for many people in need. We also hope it serves as a catalyst for new life and new investment in the community of Manheim Park.”

“This is truly a wonderful day,” said U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II. “We have come so far from the days of creating the Green Impact Zone to working for more jobs, greater energy efficiency and a better quality of life for all who live and work here. The repurposed Bancroft School now opens as a shining example of our progress, improvement and success.”

“We’re proud to continue our partnership with Make It Right, building upon our initial work together in New Orleans with this latest project in Kansas City,” said Paul Murray, vice president of sustainability and environmental affairs at Shaw Industries, the world’s largest manufacturer of carpet and a leading floor covering provider. “Make It Right’s efforts to create affordable, high-performance, well-designed homes is not only in alignment with our focus on Cradle to Cradle in our manufacturing and flooring product design, but with our corporate vision to create a better future.”

“Building this relationship with Make It Right is a perfect fit for Leviton, as it aligns with our brand purpose of helping families and supporting communities with energy efficient solutions,” said Daryoush Larizadeh, Leviton’s Chief Operating Officer. “Through our partnership, Leviton will be able to see communities grow while providing a deeper understanding of how our products help to make buildings safe, efficient and sustainable.”

“As a proud partner on the Bancroft School project, we are pleased to help meet the needs and vision of Manheim Park Neighborhood residents while supporting U.S. Bank’s mission of strengthening and energizing the communities we serve,” said Lynn Craghead, senior vice president, U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. “Today, through the hard work and dedication of many, the restored Bancroft School is an example of how public-private partnerships can drive meaningful change. Our hope is that Bancroft School will be a community gathering space and a source of hope and vitality for years to come.”

“Kansas City’s best kept urban core secret: Manheim Park is a neighborhood that found its Why for change, then collectively as a community with vision found the Will,” said Saundra Hayes, president of the Historic Manheim Park Association. “The partners, stakeholders, investors and friends found the Way and because of the stakeholders’ trust, investment and commitment—hope was reborn in a neighborhood that had known blight for almost a century. That expectation along with courage fueled the regeneration journey and because of the stakeholders making good on the promise the neighborhood now has Wings and will continue to fly.”

“Bancroft signals a catalytic shift in community revitalization,” said Bob Berkebile of BNIM Architects. “This effort has already resulted in a remarkable reduction in crime and increase in hope. As residents soon claim their new homes the legacy will become the development of human capital by design. This project is urban acupuncture and it redefines urban redevelopment.”

Leave a Comment


  1. Pingback: Brad Pitt Again: Preservation and Low-Income Housing | Building a Better World

  2. I graduated from the 6 grade from Bancroft in 1978 and haven’t stepped back into since but I would to see and maybe live in it as it stands right now,,the pics of it look very very luxurious n eye catching..

  3. I visited New Orleans last year and saw what MAKE IT RIGHT, built after Katrina. Up until that tour i’d never thought about Brad Pitt and his politics and MAKE IT RIGHT. I do however follow what U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II endorses.
    I am relatively new to this area but I do attend the Cleaver YMCA and I’m very, very impressed with it. If Emanuel Cleaver is for this, so am I.

    As a senior plan to to see the Bancroft Apartments.

  4. Pingback: Brad Pitt’s Foundation brags on Bancroft School Apartments and Kansas City - Midtown KC Post at Midtown KC Post

  5. I do admire Brad Pitt for his love regarding others, who are less privileged. However,I cannot give a donation at this time. I was taken out of my siblings home,due from neglect and abused at an early age. I am praying for a miracle of some kind of a donation to help me buy a house. At this time I am staying with some friends. I have a disability and I need a safe place to live. Brad Pitt and Angelina are excellent role models for our country today.
    God bless,

  6. Pingback: Kansas City - KCGlobal - Optimal Domains

  7. I Love what this organization is doing in K.C.Mo. area…saving these beautiful, historical bldgs and giving them new life. I live in Orange Co. Ca., since Jr. High days ( I’m 66) and return home to KC once or twice a yr…I noticed last wk when I was there, that my Kindergarten school, “Askew School” Has a for sale sign on the property. This beautiful bldg has been standing vacant for a few yrs now and could use this organizations amazing vision. It is located at 27th & Topping, on the east side of KC. It would be tragic to see this bldg torn down vs. restored/remodeled for some good use, and I would like to even be part of such a good cause, even though my background is medical. FYI….kudo’s to my Grandfather, Alfred Kretzschmer, who worked w/the crew who did all the stonework around the base of ‘Askew School’…..Regardless of what your decide, I have so much respect for the work this organization has done and continues to do:)

  8. I live what your non profit company is doing for the communities in the USA! I would love to be able to own a home for my children and I here in Atlanta. Being a cancer survivor was the biggest challenge of my life but now it seems like it’s just trying to stay afloat in the economy. Well it makes me happy to company like this helping others. Bless you all.
    Allison Pickens

  9. I was just visiting my home town, Kansas City, Missouri for a reunion with my family. My sister and brother told me of this project as I attended Bancroft School as a child. I was so happy to hear that my old school had been renovated to assist lower income families and had been carefully created utilizing the best of sustainable building products and techniques. Thank you Brad Pitt and all the other participants for bringing Bancroft back to life.
    May God continue to bless each and everyone of you.
    Debra Lee Svaglic

  10. My name is Susie Taylor.
    I grew up at 4427 Tracy in Kansas City, MO.
    I went to Bancroft and have many memories of it and playing
    ball on the playground and playing on the metal jungle gym on the side of the building. Walking through the front doors and those huge wide bid wooden steps and walking into the kindegarten room – whom Mrs. Green was my teacher. I remember skipping home for lunch everyday and then skipping back to school…. It would have been in 1962…. This last Friday 3-25-16 I went to Kansas City and went by Bancroft. It look so good. It brought back
    many memories for me. You all have done a beautiful job restoring it…. I just wanted to comment how nice the place looks.
    My name in school was Linda Gurley.
    Thank You.