BNSF Railway

#FLEXKC Panel: Cold storage is next frontier for "on fire" Kansas City industrial market

Kansas City's industrial market remains strong, with more than 3 million square feet of speculative space currently under construction and 1.3 million SF completed in the first quarter.

But in order to succeed in the rapidly changing, omni-channel marketplace, communities and companies need to remain flexible on all fronts, ranging from operations to incentives to workforce development. That's the consensus of panelists at KC SmartPort's 2019 Industry Briefing, FLEXKC.

"While the economy and most indicators point to continued growth, the need for companies to increase flexibility in operations and hiring practices has never been greater. That is true of how companies build, use and occupy space as well,” said KC SmartPort President Chris Gutierrez.

One of the next waves in industrial development will be "Food on Demand" as consumers seek convenience and freedom from the kitchen. That means cold storage facilities are landing at the top of the shopping list for those scouting industrial locations.

"We are seeing an uptick in that sector," said Colby Tanner, BNSF Railway assistant vice president. "Over the last 18 months we have started to get a lot of inquiries from the cold storage sector asking how can we locate along the rail line or have rail access."

Although they come with significant investment and a subsequent boon to local coffers, cold storage facilities can present a challenge when it comes to incentives.

"These are really high-dollar projects, but they require a non-traditional workforce. So from an incentives perspective, you have a project with a huge investment but the challenge will always be workforce,” said Ann Petersen, Cushman & Wakefield managing director. 

Other barriers to entry include higher insurance costs, environmental impacts, and margins squeezed by waste.

"Food on demand is a challenging business, " observed longtime Amazon Site Selector and Keynote Speaker Mike Grella. "I think there’s room for growth there, but we are still in a period of experimentation and iteration." 

For a full event recap, click here.

Development team gets sneak peak of Midwest Gateway project (and so do you!)

Developers this week toured the Midwest Gateway project, a 487,000 square foot warehouse and distribution facility under construction at 191st & Homestead in Edgerton, Kan. Comprised of two buildings designed to accommodate multiple tenants, Midwest Gateway is adjacent to the entrance of BNSF Railway's intermodal facility and on track for tenant occupancy by the end of the year.

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Midwest Gateway is one of a handful of facilities located along the heavy haul, I-35 corridor, which allows shippers to send heavier loads to and from the intermodal yard with significant reduction in drayage expenses. 

"With buildings sized at 186,000 and 301,000 square feet each, Midwest Gateway creates a rare opportunity for tenants seeking smaller format distribution facilities who want close proximity to the BNSF Intermodal," said Russell Pearson of NAI Heartland, which is co-marketing the project alongside Copaken Brooks. "The buildings have a number of unique features including upgraded LED lighting, future trailer parking, and the ability for users to lease or own.  Building 1 even has a balcony that over-looks the BNSF intermodal operations which is really impressive to see."

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Midwest Gateway is being developed by Copaken Brooks and co-marketed by NAI-Heartland and Copaken BrooksAdditional project partners include GMA Architects, ARCO National Construction, Shafer, Kline & Warren, Krudwig & Associates and Metro Air. (Below: Nathan Anderson, NAI-Heartland; Bucky Brooks, Copaken Brooks; Aaron Schlagel, Copaken Brooks; Russell Pearson, NAI-Heartland)

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Click the photos below to browse our slide show for a full construction update. More details online at MidwestGatewayKC.com

Spectrum Brands takes KC's biggest spec industrial building

Spectrum Brands takes KC's biggest spec industrial building

Kansas City's industrial market is off to a hot start in 2017 with the announcement that a single tenant would soon take up residence at a massive new distribution facility -- the largest industrial building ever constructed on a speculative basis in Kansas City.

Edgerton breaks from SW JoCo, forms its own EDC

Edgerton breaks from SW JoCo, forms its own EDC

With help from BNSF Railway, NorthPoint Development, and other local utility partners, the City of Edgerton is creating its own new public-private economic development organization. Officials hope this newly formed EDC will help the area sustain the tremendous growth it’s seen since the inception of Logistics Park Kansas City in late 2013.