Reardon and KCK Ask White House Help on EPA Move
April 15, 2011

KCK Mayor Joe Reardon says he’s asking for the White House and the General Services Administration to look into the relocation of the Region 7 Environmental Protection Agency Headquarters. Rears wants GSA’s Inspector General’s office to investigate.
An IG investigation is an quasi-independent probe of a government action. Inspector Generals have a wide range in doing their work.
The region office and most if its 600 employees have been fixture in downtown KCK for years.
Earlier this month the GSA announced they signed a lease to move the center to a Lenexa, Kansas suburban office park. GSA supervises the leasing and operations of federal buildings.
The EPA landlord, UrbanAmerica Advisors, has also filed a formal protest against the move. Reardon says more needs to be done to justify the move.
“We don’t have all the facts”, he told reporters Friday.
Reardon says there are several elements he wants the White and the GSA Inspector General to explore.
He insists the move is inconsistent with the federal practice of locating its buildings in central business districts. That is aimed at keeping downtowns alive.
Reardon also does not think taxpayers get any substantial savings from the move.
The mayor also says the approximate 15 mile shift to the south “does not support the EPA’s efforts to improve the environment or air quality.
The GSA says they elected to move the headquarters because a real estate firm in Johnson County, Lenexa Lexington, made the GSA a better deal. Officials in KCK and the building landlord dispute that.
Reardon didn’t know how long the challenge might take.
A top KCK administrator Doug Bach, conceded, “it could take a while”.

KCK Officials Worry EPA Could be Moving Out
March 31, 2011

What a difference a day makes.

One day after scoring a potentially huge economic development project, Google’s first ‘Fiber City’, Kansas City, Kansas officials are worried the federal government may pull the region 7 Environmental Protection Agency headquarters out of downtown KCK.

“We have expressed to the GSA and our congressional delegation our concern about the EPA being a long-term tenant in our downtown,” said Mayor Joe Reardon in an interview with KMBC TV today.

The General Services Administration supervises federal buildings. Local spokesman Charlie Cook will only say that the GSA is in the “procurement phase”, and that GSA won’t say anything else until a lease is completed.

The current lease between the GSA and the buildings’ owner, Urban America, has expired. Reardon says they’ve extended the lease during the negotiations. The possibility of the move may be due to the difficulty in getting a new lease for the building.

Once source says the GSA headquarters could be moved to the Sprint campus in southern Overland Park.

Reardon says he doesn’t know what will happen.

But he also points out the federal government likes to place its offices in central  business districts or downtowns.

“There is an executive order that Jimmy Carter signed”, says Reardon, “that says GSA institutions ought to be located in central business districts because of the positive economic dynamic that they can bring”.

A reliable source says that the Kansas Congressional delegation may get a notice shortly that the move is being made. 

The EPA headquarters is located at  901 North 5th Street in downtown. The building was built for the EPA in the late 1990’s  Most of the 650 Region 7 employees work there.  But some work in an EPA laboratory not far from the headquarters. That building has a different lease.

Another Washington source say the decision could be coming within a few days.

A third said “the decision is coming fast.”