Plans for Burns & McDonnell, Wonderscope and Elite Sports move forward
By John Sharp
Three major new projects in south Kansas City – the just announced expansion of Burns & McDonnell’s world headquarters, the recently announced plans for a large indoor sports mall by Elite Sports Management and the new Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City – all appear to be moving forward.
Burns & McDonnell
Construction is expected to start in early September on the largest of these projects – a four-story 142,000-square-foot office building and 550-stall parking garage addition on the south side of Burns & McDonnell’s already expanded world headquarters at 9450 Ward Pkwy.
The company announced the major expansion necessitated by projections of continued rapid growth of its workforce on August 29. Ray Kowalik, Burns & McDonnell chairman and CEO, said the company is on pace to add a record number of about 1,200 new employees this year.
The company’s announcement of the expansion said it expects to have 3,225 employees in Kansas City and 6,650 at all its locations by the end of this year, and it “plans to continue to hire 1,000 new employees each year for the foreseeable future.”
The announcement noted the engineering and architectural company has seen several years of consecutive growth in design-build and engineer-procure-construct project delivery methods which it said are proven to speed construction and maintain cost control.
The $42 million project including both the office building and garage addition is expected to be completed by the summer of 2020. The building is projected to cost about $30 million, and the
garage addition is expected to cost about $12 million. The project is being designed and built by Burns & McDonnell in partnership with VanTrust Real Estate.
The building has the capacity to house 780 employees, and it increases the capacity of the company’s headquarters by 22 percent. It will connect at the third level to the 310,000-square-foot building that can accommodate 1,400 employees that was opened in 2016 with a new parking garage as the first phase of the headquarters expansion.
The new building and parking garage addition will take up all the remaining space at the company’s 34-acre campus meaning the company will have to look at other locations for future growth.
Wonderscope Children’s Museum
The project plan for Wonderscope Children’s Museum of Kansas City to build a 30,000-square-foot museum facing Red Bridge Rd. in the northwest corner of the Red Bridge Shopping Center just east of Oak at press time was scheduled to be considered by the City Plan Commission on September 4 as part of its consent agenda which normally indicates such items are non-controversial. [UPDATE: Plans were approved.]
Members of the project team told the South Kansas City Alliance (SKCA) last month that bids are being solicited for demolition of the closed La Petite Academy at the site, and demolition should be finished by December 1. They also said utility relocation, site grading and other site preparation work should start this fall. Museum Executive Director Roxane Hill said the museum should be open and operating in 2019. The SKCA subsequently endorsed the project plan.
The project plan submitted to the city for approval shows the one-story museum with 22 new deciduous trees planted along the site’s west boundary with Oak, 8 new trees planted along its north boundary with Red Bridge Rd. and 9 new trees planted along its south boundary with 112 th St. There will be continuous shrubbery planted along the Oak and Red Bridge Rd. sides of the parking lot and one tree planted in parking lot islands for every five of the 136 parking stalls.
A rain garden/water detention area will be included in the natural area on the south side of the Building.
A request by Elite Sports Management to rezone the site of the former Home Quarters building on the northwest quadrant of Bannister Rd. & I-435 from an urban redevelopment district to B3 community business zoning and to approve a development plan to convert the building to an indoor sport mall is scheduled to be heard by the City Plan Commission on Tuesday, September 18. [UPDATE: Plans were approved.]
Plans submitted to the city show eight 70 x 115 feet indoor fields or courts, batting cages, an adult fitness area, pediatric and sports medicine facilities, meeting rooms and snack, juice and coffee areas.
Plans call for enlarging the approximately 134,000-square-foot building which recently has been used for storage by Walmart by about 17,000 square feet to accommodate the batting cages and medical facilities.
The submitted plans show the parking lot will be renovated with traffic islands and landscaping, and some of the western portions of the lot will be converted to grassland to improve water retention.
Kate Pfefferkorn-Mansker, owner of Pfefferkorn Engineering & Environmental that is working on designing the project, has told community groups that Elite would love to have the facility open this year. It is not seeking any economic incentives for the project which also has been endorsed by the South Kansas City Alliance.