Burns & McDonnell has reached an agreement with VanTrust Real Estate for a proposed expansion of its world headquarters complex in south Kansas City to accommodate its rapidly growing work force.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Burns & McDonnell has reached an agreement with VanTrust Real Estate for a proposed expansion of its world headquarters complex in south Kansas City to accommodate its rapidly growing work force.
The agreement contemplates that VanTrust, the current owner of property adjacent to the current Burns & McDonnell complex previously occupied by the Beth Shalom Synagogue, and Burns & McDonnell will proceed to finalize a phased design for a significant new facility on the property.
"Burns & McDonnell has made Kansas City its home since the firm was founded in 1898 and this proposed expansion will help continue this tradition for the foreseeable future," said Greg Graves, Chairman and CEO.
"The employee-ownership evolution here at Burns & Mac is full steam ahead. When you combine that with some very good short- and long-term market areas ... we need great people and we also need great new space. The proposed headquarters expansion will allow us to add as many as 2,100 jobs in Kansas City over the next 10 years ... maybe even faster."
The initial phase would exceed 300,000 square feet with the potential for a second, smaller building with an ultimate cost of up to $130 million for the complete expansion. Both buildings would have a lower profile than the existing Burns & McDonnell World Headquarters complex due to the lower site elevation. "We think the site could ultimately accommodate more than 400,000 square feet," said Graves.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James commented on the announcement: "Burns & McDonnell is the quintessential hometown entrepreneurial success story and a tremendous corporate citizen. I'm proud that the company continues to call our community home and I appreciate all that they do for this City. We welcome their expansion and the new jobs it will bring. Burns & McDonnell acts as a great ambassador for Kansas City as it serves clients throughout the United States and around the world."
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon commented on the announcement: "Missouri's low cost of doing business and highly skilled workforce continue to bring thousands of good-paying jobs to the Show-Me State, and this latest announcement by Burns & McDonnell is a tremendous win for Kansas City," Gov. Nixon said. "Since its founding in Kansas City in 1898, Burns & McDonnell has been a pillar of this community and a leader in its field. Today's announcement ensures that this homegrown company will remain an important part of this city, and a significant job creator in Missouri."
The agreement between VanTrust and Burns & McDonnell contemplates that the proposed expansion, if completed, will have enough office space for 2,100 employee-owners, bringing the total employment at the complex to 4,300.
"Burns & McDonnell is one of the most well-known and respected engineering and architectural consulting firms in the United States," said Roshann Parris, Chair of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and President and CEO of Parris Communications. "To speak in Greg Graves' language, it's incredibly awesome to have Burns & McDonnell re-commit to south Kansas City and become the western anchor in what is starting to look like our own Intellectual corridor along Bannister Road — with Cerner on the east and Burns & McDonnell on the west. This is outstanding news for the entire Greater Kansas City business community. We can't wait to see what's next for Burns & McDonnell."
The project will be jointly funded by Burns & McDonnell and VanTrust Real Estate. The property that is the site of the proposed expansion has challenges that would not be present in other potential sites and that directly affect the feasibility of the proposed redevelopment of the site. Therefore, any decision to proceed with the project is contingent upon receipt of all necessary governmental approvals, incentives and entitlements and a final determination of financial feasibility by both parties.
"We are excited about the prospect of working with one of Kansas City's premiere corporate citizens to expand its presence in Kansas City," said Dave Harrison, president of VanTrust. "This expansion is an ideal use for the property and would serve as a terrific gateway to the Ward Parkway office corridor."
Graves commented on working with VanTrust: "Because we had no previous experience working with VanTrust, I called a number of friends around town. I told someone just the other day that I felt like I was talking to Burns & McDonnell clients, everyone had just terrific things to say about Dave Harrison and the whole VanTrust team."
The agreement provides for Burns & McDonnell to design and build the new space if the project moves forward. Initial conceptual design work has commenced based upon the agreement between Burns & McDonnell and VanTrust. "No question about it ... this project will be 100 percent executed by our commercial architecture and design/build divisions. We have the perfect team in place to make this a showpiece for south Kansas City," Graves said.
"As CEO of an employee-owned firm, I have a responsibility to look out for the dual interests of our people. It is my responsibility to them as employees to ensure that they have a modern, secure and convenient work space. It is my responsibility to them as owners that this be a sound investment for Burns & McDonnell and that it enhances the value of their ownership in the firm.
"This project would knock it out of the park on both counts."
As previously announced, business and backlog are booming at Burns & McDonnell, leading to significant growth in hiring.
Every business unit in the firm is anticipating growth in 2014, and that is reflected in an unprecedented hiring spree. The employee count totaled 4,300 at year-end 2013, including more than 2,600 employee-owners in Kansas City.
In total, the company added about 700 jobs in 2013. It forecasts adding another 600 positions this year, 300 in Kansas City and 300 in the firm's regional offices.
Burns & McDonnell set another corporate sales record in 2013 with $2.3 billion in total sales for all business units, a 15 percent increase over 2012 sales of $2.0 billion. The sales forecast for 2014 calls for a 15 percent increase.
Revenue recorded in 2013 totaled $1.9 billion, up 23 percent over 2012. Under generally accepted accounting practices adhered to by Burns & McDonnell, sales are the value of contracts signed in the fiscal year, and revenue is the actual income derived from work performed.
Business units with significant engineering, construction or architecture project backlogs include electrical transmission and distribution systems, oil and natural gas refining and processing, petrochemical processing, air quality control work for power generation plants, combined heat and power facilities, water treatment, commercial and industrial facilities, and environmental remediation.
Among the contributing factors for Burns & McDonnell's success: the continuing North American shale gas boom that is creating an urgent need for new processing facilities and pipelines; a continuing need for investment in the nationwide power delivery infrastructure and its security; and water quality regulations driving investment in new controls and treatment systems. The continuing industry trend toward design-build projects has spurred tremendous growth within the company's Construction/Design-Build division, while the company has begun expanding into commercial construction opportunities as well.
About Burns & McDonnell
Founded in 1898, Burns & McDonnell is a 100 percent employee-owned, full-service engineering, architecture, construction, environmental and consulting solutions firm. Burns & McDonnell is currently the 20th largest AEC firm in the Engineering News-Record Top 500 ranking. With the multidisciplinary experience of engineering, architecture, construction and technical professionals in more than 30 offices worldwide, Burns & McDonnell plans, designs, permits, constructs and manages facilities with one mission in mind — to make our clients successful. For more information about Burns & McDonnell, visit www.burnsmcd.com.