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The egg rolls around on the cab's bench seat until Jones pulls over at a house on Holly. The roof has recently been reframed by builder Jamie Jeffries, part of what Jones terms a "massive attack" that will lead to the abandoned home's complete rehab over the next four months.
"This will be a bedroom," Jones says as he looks up at blue sky from a roofless room, his feet spread wide on boards soft with rot. "We just can't let shit like this get destroyed."
Jones keeps a workshop in the West Bottoms, a two-story brick building with a bright-green door on Saint Louis Avenue. A railing from his rental property on Summit sits just inside the door, awaiting another coat of paint. The bathroom, made of reclaimed wood, has half walls and is marked only by an exit sign. In the custom-fabrication shop that he calls his lumberyard — because there is a lumberyard here, where wood and architectural salvage are protected from the elements by old vinyl billboards — he's building windows for the Ridge Top Apartments, a residential reimagining of the Civil War–era veterans complex, in Leavenworth.
"I help prepare things for standard construction," Jones says of the vintage doors and windows that he shapes for residential and commercial projects. "You scrape off a bit and you're like, 'My God, this is beautiful.'"
On the move again, Jones swings through downtown, pointing out a live-work art space he's renovating with Jeffries in a pair of buildings at 17th Street and Oak that last served as paper warehouses for The Kansas City Star.
He pulls into an alleyway, cuts off the engine, and walks up a loading dock and into a marble hallway. A few steps later, he's standing in the middle of the bullpen at the architectural firm BNIM.
Jones stops at Steve McDowell's desk. The firm's director of design offers a greeting and springs up to grab an elbow-shaped piece of orange ceramic. McDowell put a piece like this in a corner of the newly completed Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on the University of Missouri–Kansas City campus.
"This is my color stone," McDowell says.
"That is so cool," Jones tells him. The two connect over the architectural detail but don't discuss the other 67,998 square feet of the $32 million project.
"Jones isn't out there on Facebook. He's out there running the streets," says Patrick Ottesen, who with Jones has operated Foundation, an architectural reclamation retail store and event space in the West Bottoms, for the past seven years. "Jones knows everybody, and everybody knows Jones."
"We call it Beirut," Jones says.
Today it's a different ride. He's in the passenger seat of a rented Nissan.
The driver is Kathy Nyquist, a principal with New Venture Advisors, a Chicago business-development group that specializes in launching food hubs. She has turned on the Intercity Viaduct Road, which runs underneath I-70 in the West Bottoms. She steers past concrete barriers set up by the Missouri Department of Transportation in an attempt to stop people from dumping tires under the highway, along the new bike path that follows the Riverfront Heritage Trail.
Nyquist and an associate are on an informal tour of Jones' food trail, along with KC Healthy Kids' Policy & Planning Associate Emily Miller and Don Reck, a former employee of Bridging the Gap and Habitat ReStore who is now working on the food-hub project in the West Bottoms.
Jones and Reck attended a conference the previous afternoon in Lawrence to discuss the kickoff of a feasibility study by the Midwest Regional Food Hub Partnership. New Venture is consulting on the study, due next July, which outlines what a Kansas City area food hub — a centralized connector for producers, consumers, restaurants and markets — might entail.