Officials from CenterPoint Properties were invited to speak to residents of South Kansas City at the Southern Communities Coalition meeting on Wednesday, January 15.
CenterPoint Properties was chosen after a competitive bid as a preferred partner to work on the Bannister Federal Complex remediation efforts and also be the developer that works on the redevelopment of the complex for the Missouri Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
Three years ago, Jim Cross, Senior Vice President Government Services and Development with CenterPoint, began putting the proposal together. According to Cross, around six months ago, CenterPoint was chosen as the preferred partner and began discussions with the Department of Energy, the NNSA, the GSA, and other governmental agencies on the clean-up efforts that will take place.
Cross has developed teams to work on the due diligence of the property, and will continue working on research of the existing facilities for up to another year and a half.
“We’re hoping, if all goes well, we’ll be doing meaningful environmental cleanup out there in the next eighteen months,” said Cross. “At the same time we’re doing that, we’ll be doing demolition.”
The entire cleanup will take approximately twenty-four to thirty-six months total. According to Cross, the reason why CenterPoint is making the investment in the property is to repurpose the land for future use. Cross also stated that while there are thousands of pages of reports on the contaminants that are possibly on the property, CenterPoint will do their own independent research
and ensure that the property is qualified under Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) standards.
Kevin Breslin, an attorney for CenterPoint, also stated that the structures currently on the property were evaluated and determined unfit for future needs.
“The buildings are simply 1940s buildings,” said Breslin. “They served their purpose at the time they were constructed. They served their purpose for many years, but even the NNSA could no longer realistically function in the building.”
Once the site is clear, CenterPoint will begin working on the issues in the subsurface of the property. CenterPoint will determine the condition of the property as a whole, report those conditions, and then remediate it for approval with MDNR for reuse and redevelopment.
“We won’t build at the site until such time as we’re satisfied and the regulators are satisfied that it’s ready to be built upon,” said Breslin. “We’re in the business of buying and then leasing or selling properties. We can’t lease it and we can’t sell it unless we prove to new industry that wants to come there that it’s been cleaned up satisfactorily.”
The redevelopment of the site will fall under the City of Kansas City’s urban redevelopment process, which CenterPoint will voluntarily submit to. This transfers the decision-making for the redevelopment of the Bannister Federal Complex to the City of Kansas City. It will be a public process, with opportunity for public input. Due to this process, the exact look and purpose of the redevelopment remains to be seen.
“This is exactly what the city council wanted to happen at the Bannister Federal Complex,” said Sixth District Councilman John Sharp. “We’ve got a developer that knows what they’re doing and I think this will be a great site for future development.”
The next regular meeting for the Southern Communities Coalition will be Wednesday, February 19 at 7:00 p.m. at Baptiste Educational Center, 5401 E. 103rd Street in Kansas City.