Kansas City is now attracting manufacturing and distribution opportunities at levels not seen in decades
The Kansas City region has long been a recognized national leader in logistics and manufacturing, mainly due to our central geographic location and major highway, rail, air and barge routes. Today, the KC region is also gaining a foothold as a player in the international supply chain. With more Foreign Trade Zone space than any other location in the U.S., expanding transportation infrastructure and a focused effort to strengthen the supply chain workforce pipeline, KC is attracting e-commerce, manufacturing and distribution operations at an increasing pace.
Here are a few key reasons behind the e-commerce, manufacturing and distribution upswing:
- Logistics and transportation costs are primarily driving corporate location decisions in the manufacturing and distribution industry: This bodes incredibly well for KC, which regularly ranks among the least expensive markets to move freight by all modes.
- Increased intermodal capacity: Intermodal developments involving rail-to-truck transfer are booming in KC. New developments include the new 1,000+-acre Logistics Park Kansas City served by BNSF in Edgerton, Kan.; the 1,000+-acre CenterPoint Intermodal Center and industrial park in south Kansas City served by Kansas City Southern Railroad; and the Norfolk Southern-served 450+-acre Northland Park in North Kansas City. These massive operations offer new railroad capacity adjacent to a logistics park, considered prime real estate in the distribution industry.
- Significant growth in speculative warehousing/distribution space in KC: In the last 10 years, the amount of Class A bulk warehouse space has grown nearly 50 percent from 13 million square feet to 19 million square feet and is expected to double in the next 10 years with projects that have already been announced. The latest spec buildings to be announced include NorthPoint Development’s 500,000-square-foot speculative warehouse building under construction in Logistics Park Kansas City; Kessinger/Hunter’s 824,000-square-foot bulk distribution facility in the I-35 Logistics Park in Olathe, Kan.; and a new spec warehouse planned for the KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre near KCI Airport.
Kansas City also has KC SmartPort, which is the authority on logistics opportunities in the 18-county, two-state Kansas City region. An industry-led organization, KC SmartPort offers tremendous expertise and strategic focus to the growth of the KC area. This gives the KC region a significant competitive advantage when logistics operations are evaluating our area for investment.
Recent investments into Ford and General Motors’ Kansas City assembly operations have resulted in increased interest from auto industry suppliers to have a KC location. For example, just this year, KCADC and KC SmartPort have facilitated new KC operations for several auto suppliers:
- Adrian Steel is leasing 11 acres and building a 30,000-square-foot facility at the Hunt Midwest Business Center in Kansas City, Mo., to install interiors for the new Ford Transit. The company will invest $5 million and will add nearly 40 new jobs to the region.
- Yanfeng USA Automotive Trim Systems is building a 260,000-square-foot manufacturing and sequencing facility in the Horizons Business Park in Riverside, Mo. Yanfeng is investing $45 million and generating more than 260 new jobs.
Other manufacturers have also announced new KC area locations in 2013:
- EC Manufacturing, an advanced manufacturing start-up, chose Shawnee, Kan., to establish its operations. The company will produce advanced, small electrical components and expects to hire more than 250 employees and make a $6 million investment.
- IBC North America and Cleantide Container will co-open a new facility in Chillicothe, Mo., to manufacture and refurbish intermediate bulk containers. The sister companies will invest more than $5 million in the expansion project and create 87 new jobs.
We anticipate several more manufacturing and automotive-related announcements before the end of this year, making 2013 one of the strongest for this type of investment in KC.
You can visit kcsmartport.com to read more about KC’s logistics, warehousing and distribution advantages.
Column by Bob Marcusse | Illustration by Noli Novak