GSA Moving Downtown, KC Chief Says New Federal Office Downtown Still Possible

The Kansas City Regional Director of the General Services Administration (GSA), Jason Klumb, says the GSA move downtown may still produce a new downtown federal building. But it’s not likely to happen soon.
Klumb and the GSA announced Wednesday the 1,000 employees of GSA and eight other federal agencies will move town downtown by the end of 2014.
But Klumb concedes that new federal building is in the future. He says recent federal budgets have included no new office building for GSA. Klumb says the short-term plan is to house the transplanted federal workers into existing vacant downtown office space.
Collier’s Commercial Real Estate says the vacancy rate for office space downtown is almost 14%. That’s higher than the vacancy rate for many US downtowns.
Klumb also says it is not likely the GSA will move to the soon-to-be-vacant EPA Regional headquarters in Kansas City, Kansas.
Klumb says there is a tradition not to hop a state line when moving a federal office complex.
KCK officials objected last year when GSA elected to move the EPA from its downtown KCK offices to an industrial and office park in Lenexa, Kansas.
The move from the Bannister Federal. Complex in. South Kansas City is ironic. Later this tear the federal government will mark the 70th anniversary of the sprawling complex. It was opened by then-Senator Harry Truman.
Originally the plant made airplane engines for WWII. At one time, it was claimed to be the largest manufacturing plant on earth. After the Korean War, it’s assignment changed.
It became part if the government’s nuclear weapons manufacturing operation. The plant made non-nuclear part for weapons systems.
The plant through the years was operated by Bendix, then Allied and now Honeywell.
The weapons operation is part if the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
That facility is moving further south. The entire complex will be put up for sale.
That sale could be complicated. In recent years some employees and former employees claimed The chemicals in the property’s ground water and area were making them sick.
A government report issued last year said the property did not pose a health risk-now.
Remediation of past contaminates will continue after the property is vacated, Klumb said.

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