The General Services Administration (GSA) announced on Wednesday (Feb. 15) that it will relocate about 1,000 employees from its Heartland Region headquarters at the Bannister Federal Complex—a 5.1 million-square-foot former defense plant in south Kansas City—to leased space in downtown Kansas City, Missouri (GSA’s Region 6 office manages more than 400 federally owned and leased buildings in Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska). An additional 400 employees at eight other federal agencies also will be leaving Bannister and seeking leased space at the same time, with downtown the preferred location for them as well. All moves are scheduled to take place by the close of 2014.
The decision to move GSA employees into leased space in downtown Kansas City comes after the agency spent more than six years attempting to convince the federal government to build a new 446,000-square-foot, $211 million office building there. Although GSA still supports the construction of a new downtown federal office building, the project was left out of the federal budget in 2010 and 2011, and its prospects now look increasingly bleak in light of the continuing budget crunch; the roughly $20 million in design expenditures needed to jump start the project were not included in President Obama’s 2012 budget. The proposed building, which was slated for completion in 2017, was projected to house 1,250 employees from several agencies, including GSA’s Public Buildings Service and Federal Acquisition Service, as well as the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.
The move is being timed to coincide with the relocation of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Honeywell weapons parts plant from Bannister to a new facility seven miles to the south. Last fall, NNSA began seeking proposals for Bannister’s redevelopment and offered the entire 5.1-million-square foot complex—part of which is owned by GSA— for sale as a redevelopment opportunity. According to Jason Klumb, administrator for the GSA Heartland Region, NNSA has received several proposals, including some from entities interested in the entire complex, and that situation resulted in the decision to relocate all of the federal agencies now at Bannister. GSA plans to issue a solicitation for lease proposals next fall.