Kansas City’s Plan Commission signed off on NorthPoint Development’s plans to convert the sprawling former Bannister Federal Complex into a manufacturing and warehousing hub.
On Tuesday, commission members unanimously approved plans for the Blue River Commerce Center, entailing a total of 2.6 million square feet of construction — seven buildings, ranging from 241,000 to 438,000 square feet — plus 1,730 parking spaces.
To make way for the development, members also voted to rezone 230 of the property’s roughly 300 acres, at the northeast corner of East Bannister Road and Troost Avenue, from a manufacturing to an urban redevelopment district.
Blue River Commerce Center is projected to be a $135 million undertaking for NorthPoint, supporting at least 1,500 new jobs, NorthPoint representatives said earlier this year.
The Riverside-based developer plans to construct the manufacturing buildings from west to east on the property, based on market demand, Chris Chancellor, NorthPoint’s director of engineering, said during the Tuesday meeting. Current landowner Bannister Transformation and Development LLC is conducting environmental remediation in that same direction
Bannister Transformation and Development has carried out the $200 million cleanup, in connection with historic site contaminants.
The complex was built in the 1940s as a manufacturing facility for Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines during World War II, supporting more than 21,000 employees at the time.
More recently, between 2014 and 2015, workers with the General Services Administration’s Heartland Region and the National Nuclear Security Administration vacated the complex for different facilities. The NNSA plant there made non-nuclear components for the nation’s stockpile.
Chancellor said NorthPoint seeks tax incentives from Port KC and has had “great conversations” with taxing jurisdictions about proposed fixed payments in lieu of property taxes.
Once open, he said, the Blue River Commerce Center could support work-based and ongoing development training for employees, comparable to the Learning and Career Center at Logistics Park Kansas City.