Green light for Blue River Commerce Center at former Bannister Federal Complex

The first of seven modern warehouse and industrial buildings is slated to begin this month at the former Bannister Federal Complex, once the site of a massive World War II airplane engine plant and later as the manufacturing hub for America’s nuclear security program.

Bannister Transformation & Development LLC (BTD) made the announcement yesterday (Oct. 22) at the 225-acre site in the heart of south Kansas City along with Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, Sen. Roy Blunt and U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.

BTD is the private owner and also managed the three-year demolition and clean-up project in preparation of the $135 million redevelopment plan. When complete, the fully-restored property, located at Bannister Road and Troost Avenue, is expected to create more than 1,500 permanent jobs and new economic vitality for the surrounding community.

NorthPoint Development plans to construct a modern industrial park – named Blue River Commerce Center – with 2.6 million SF of new buildings, including a logistics and supply-chain career training center for local job seekers.

“This project is a great example of what can happen when federal and state government work together with private industry. The transformation of this dormant property into a hub of activity will benefit Missouri and south Kansas City for decades to come through new jobs, economic development, and increased commerce and revenue,” Gov. Parson said.

The disposition of the site was a collaborative effort between federal and state agencies and private development to guarantee the property would be redeveloped, contribute to the economic resurgence of South Kansas City and save taxpayer dollars.

“This project is transforming an historic site into a modernized manufacturing and distribution hub, which will support new permanent jobs and encourage additional economic development in the Kansas City region. I appreciate the great work Bannister Transformation & Development, and all of their dedicated employees, have done to reach this point. I was proud to support this project and I will continue working with local, state, and federal officials as the redevelopment moves forward,” Blunt said.

A fixture of the economic landscape of South Kansas City since 1942, the obsolete and contaminated former federal manufacturing plant was shuttered more than five years ago when NNSA and the General Services Administration relocated to new facilities. Local and state officials worried that the abandoned site would quickly become blighted and dangerous. But steady community pressure, and leadership from key federal and state stakeholders and the private sector led to a comprehensive plan to raze the more than 3.7 million SF of old buildings and clean up the environmental problems that had accumulated over the long history of the former manufacturing plant.

“This modern industrial complex will eventually yield over 1,500 new jobs. And, for me, that kind of job creation is not just encouraging as I look to the future of our city – it’s also personal. It was at that former plant where I got my first job after moving to Kansas City back in 1968. It is my hope that we can not only continue to grow and transform this vital area of the city, but also that young professionals and future leaders across our community can plant those same roots that have allowed me to make this remarkable place my home for over 50 years,” Cleaver said.

In addition to BTD, the private companies that participated in the demolition and environmental clean-up project include national engineering firm, Olsson Inc.; locally-based construction companies Superior Bowen and Kissick Construction; the Maryland-based environmental firm of S.S. Papadopulos & Associates; and the Chicago demolition firm of Brandenburg Industrial Services.

More than $300 million of new capital investment and several hundred new construction jobs will be generated during the rebuilding period.

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