'Green' houses a hard sell in Kansas City

Tuesday, March 31, 2009 | 9:53 a.m. CDT

KANSAS CITY — Five new energy efficient homes in the city center are nice places to visit, but nobody seems to want to live there.

A nonprofit community organization spent two years piecing together the land and finding tax credits, then came up with $825,000 in grants and other funding to build the houses in an older neighborhood.

The houses are appraised at about $155,000 apiece, but the asking price for them is between $138,000 and $145,000. And government and private incentives could knock $30,000 off the price.

But despite all of that, plus receiving an award last month for being both energy efficient and affordable, the homes have been on the market for at least a year.

"They are nice homes, and they are very livable," said Cindy Circo, a Kansas City councilwoman who has been involved with the project. "Anybody should be proud to have them."

While they stand out in a neighborhood of older homes and streets dotted with vacant lots full of weeds and trash, they sit empty nonetheless.

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