Thursday, August 8, 2013

Cerner Makes Strides at 3-Trails

By Mary Wilson
South Kansas City residents last week breathed a collective sigh of relief at an announcement concerning the former Bannister Mall property. Cerner Corporation has entered into an agreement to purchase the approximately 237 acres in the Three Trails Crossing region on the site, pending the completion of due diligence activities and the securing of appropriate financial incentives.

The company plans to use the location as a site to accommodate expected growth.

“(The) unanimous approval by the Missouri Development Finance Board of $10.7 million in state tax credits marks a major positive step in the redevelopment of the former Bannister Mall site,” said Kansas City 5th and 6th District Councilmembers Cindy Circo, Scott Taylor, John Sharp and Michael Brooks in a collective statement. “All four of us have worked hard to help find an effective redevelopment plan for the area. We all look forward to continuing to work together, and with Trails Properties II, to ensure that this is a successful project for south Kansas City.”

With the support of Governor Jay Nixon, as well as support from Kansas City Mayor Sly James, it is the goal of the Councilmembers that the Three Trails Redevelopment Project will not only revitalize the land it will sit on, but will encourage and foster further investment in the area.

“Cerner’s significant growth necessitates that we plan now to accommodate our future space needs,” said Marc Naughton, Cerner’s chief financial officer.

Naughton added that if conditions to close are satisfied, it is anticipated the purchase would be completed by the end of 2013. Cerner already employs over 2,800 associates at its nearby Innovation campus and the new site would be an extension of that campus. Cerner currently employs 8,794 in the Kansas City metropolitan area. The expanded campus, if constructed, would potentially house up to 15,000 additional associates upon full build-out, which would be based on Cerner’s growth and occur over an extended period.

“From day one, my administration has pursued proven, fiscally responsible policies to make Missouri a more attractive place for high-tech, high-growth companies like Cerner to invest and expand,” Gov. Nixon said. “We continue to see the results of this approach paying real dividends for communities in Kansas City and across our state. My administration will continue to work with Cerner and local officials as plans for this transformative project proceed.”

The Councilmembers were encouraged by a revised plan presented in February that called for over a million square feet of office and retail space over the next seven years that would create a significant number of jobs. Cerner has shown the ability to create economic impact across the metro. The Councilmembers look forward to them bringing that positive impact to south Kansas City.

“We would like to thank Governor Nixon and Mayor James for their support of this project, as well as the staff at the city and state level who have worked with Trails Properties II to put these tax credits together to move this project forward,” added the Councilmembers.

Mayor James also commented on the announcement:
“This is a great step forward for the former Bannister Mall site,” said the Mayor. “South Kansas City has been on an impressive forward trajectory in recent months but this site has remained an issue. Redeveloping the Three Trails Crossing region into a Cerner property will turn that area into a beacon of innovation. Cerner is a valuable community partner and I deeply appreciate the company’s commitment to our City. We look forward to working with Cerner to finalize a plan soon.”

Cerner anticipates the extended campus would include on-site daycare, a clinic for associates, fitness facilities, food service and training spaces. It could also house future data centers as needed. A portion of the site may be made available to be developed as retail stores, restaurants, or a hotel.

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