Trammell Crow’s Didion on the newest trends in industrial design

Jim Didion

Jim Didion

Trammell Crow and CBRE are knee-deep in building a new industrial park in the Northland that will serve as a source of revenue for the airport to keep landing fees down, and act as a catalyst to sustain momentum in the Northland. The 687-acre KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre is a business park that’s been in the works since 2008 and that has the potential to expand up to 5.4 million square feet and include a range of building types. At a recent meeting with the Kansas City chapter of CCIM, Trammell Crow City Leader Jim Didion explained the range of product types his team is marketing, and the latest trends in industrial design.

Product types

LogisticsCentre is a trademarked name and the most common type of building at KCI Intermodal. It’s associated with a range of large distribution centers ranging from 350 to 400,000 square feet or larger. Some of the biggest versions of these buildings measure more than 1.5 million square feet.

The Air Cargo Centre is the building type that makes the park an intermodal center by moving freight across two different modes of transportation: from air to truck. Didion says he expects to build some of these types at KCI Intermodal but that it’s completely dependent upon demand. However, Didion says demand for cargo business is waning at the moment.

The park also includes a number of traditional office/warehouse buildings for manufacturers and even some back office operations. Today, the park is home to two different manufacturers.

Challenge Manufacturing Company recently signed a 352,000-square-foot lease of the entire LogisticsCentre II building at the KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre.

Challenge Manufacturing Company recently signed a 352,000-square-foot lease of the entire LogisticsCentre II building at the KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre.

The latest industrial trends

It’s increasingly lucrative for manufacturers to locate next to vehicle assembly plants. In addition to locating near the recently expanded Ford and GM plants, KCI Intermodal expects to benefit from the nearby Harley Davidson plant as well.

“As we came out of this recession, there were so many auto suppliers out there that we’re really starting to see this part of the business growing,” Didion said. “It’s because automotive companies are outsourcing work to other companies to they can be much more efficient.”

With the expanding e-commerce sector, another perk of locating in Kansas City is the ability to reach the furthest corners of the United States within three days.

Arguably, the biggest shift Didion notes is that industrial users aren’t just concerned with the floor area anymore – they’re leasing the volume of space within the building and stacking their product to the ceiling. Because of that, floors need to be flat and reinforced. Ceiling height is growing as well.

Didion says loading equipment is more important than ever because the transfer of the product from warehouse to truck needs to be efficient and secure.

He’s also seeing more e-commerce buildings expand on their car parking. For example, Amazon recently sent out an RFP for 885,000-square-foot buildings alongside 2,500 parking units. This is because companies are pushing more and more of their operations into these buildings.

For more information on KCI Intermodal BusinessCentre, visit To see more upcoming meetings with CCIM Kansas City or other local networking groups, visit our industry event calendar.