South KC Perspective
By John Sharp
The demolition of the former Bannister Federal Complex and the environmental cleanup and reuse of the site as the Blue River Commerce Center industrial park was awarded the prestigious “Excellence in Site Reuse” award by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 13.
Once the location of a massive World War II airplane engine plant, the 225-acre site on the north side of Bannister Rd. and the east side of Troost later was used to manufacture the non-nuclear components of the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
When that work was transferred to a new site in south Kansas City adjacent to 150 Highway and other federal agencies housed there also moved to other area facilities, the site was shuttered in 2014.
The privately owned Bannister Transformation & Development (BTD) company worked with federal and state agencies such as the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to draft a comprehensive plan to raze the over 3 million square feet of vacant buildings on the site and clean up the environmental contamination on the site.
Demolition and cleanup work on the 225-acre site began in earnest in 2018. Since then, five of the projected seven new industrial buildings owned by Kansas City’s NorthPoint Development on the site are now complete and in-service. A total of 2.6 million square feet of new buildings are planned for the industrial park.
“We are grateful for this recognition by the United States EPA of the successful transformation of the former Bannister federal property, and credit for this achievement is rightfully shared among all of the men and women who worked hard and long hours at the project to make this a huge success,” said Kevin Breslin, administrative manager for BTD.
Breslin also thanked the federal and state agencies that worked with his firm on planning and overseeing the environmental cleanup of the property to assure a best-in-class cleanup and to redevelop the property to bring new jobs and substantial investments to south Kansas City.
The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration has also formally recognized the project for superior job safety performance noting that contractors and unions cooperated to contribute over 750,000 worker-hours to complete the massive cleanup without a single day lost due to injury.