Over the past several years, developer Bannister Transformation & Development LLC has worked toward demolishing and remediating the former Bannister Federal Complex in Kansas City, Missouri.
After removing 76 buildings and remediating more than 200 acres of industrial-type contamination, the nearly-completed work has saved taxpayers about $500 million and several years of potential delays, reflecting a true partnering success story. Now the private developer is turning toward redevelopment.
When the NNSA first decided to move its operations at the former Kansas City Plant to a new, modern facility about a decade ago, a simultaneous decision was made to dispose of the Bannister property, which was jointly owned by DOE and the General Services Administration (GSA).
I hope this effort will serve as a blueprint for future public-private partnerships at other federal sites.
The federal site was now considered excess to the government’s needs, as site improvements were mostly obsolete and the property was afflicted with industrial contamination typical of commercial industrial sites from that era (it was originally constructed as a Department of Defense site in 1942).
This disposition effort involved collaboration among DOE/NNSA, GSA, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Region 7 of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and private sector participation led by Bannister Transformation & Development. The goals were to secure a future for the site, contribute to the continued resurgence of the economically depressed South Kansas City area, and save the government time and money.
This collaboration eventually led to the transfer of approximately 227 of the 300 acres at the Bannister Federal Complex in November 2017 to a private developer for demolition, remediation and redevelopment at a price of nearly $250 million. The property transfer culminated five years of investigation, planning and design for the environmental cleanup and future redevelopment of the World War II-era facility.
“From start to finish, this effort has been about public and private sector organizations working together to make this happen with efficiency and cost-effectiveness in mind, while ensuring environmental protections were not compromised,” said Jeff Shoulta, DOE/NNSA’s Acting Field Office Manager for the Kansas City Field Office.
In September 2020 – in less than three years – with demolition and remediation nearly complete, the owners of the property have turned to the next phase: redevelopment. NorthPoint Development, a large commercial landlord, has a contract to redevelop the property. Their project, called the Blue River Commerce Center, will span 2.6 million square feet of industrial use space. Construction is expected to begin this year on a 240,000 square foot building, the first of seven buildings.
“We are on the home stretch and it’s important to note the economic benefit this project will bring to the community,” said Shoulta. “I hope this effort will serve as a blueprint for future public-private partnerships at other federal sites.”