Reporter, Kansas City Business Journal
Gov. Jay Nixon and Kansas City Mayor Sly James joined Cerner Corp. officials Wednesday afternoon for a ceremonial groundbreaking at the company's new Trails Campus — the largest economic development project in the state's history.
"Now that they're breaking ground, people will believe it," said Kansas City Councilman John Sharp, who represents constituents near the 290acre campus Cerner will develop on the former Bannister Mall and Benjamin Plaza shopping center sites in south Kansas City.
In addition to the $4.45 billion campus development, which will generate 4,500 construction jobs and 16,000 new Cerner jobs during the next decade, Sharp is expecting a lot of ancillary development.
"There's going to be a lot of spinoff retail, and people are going to want to start building houses here," Sharp said. "This is going to transform the area."
Meanwhile, J.E. Dunn Construction will begin work on the first two phases of the campus, which had been referred to as the Three Trails campus until the name was recently shortened to The Trails.
Work on the first office tower will begin this year, with completion expected by 2016. The first two phases, which is all the work that J.E. Dunn has been selected as general contractor for at this point, will include two office buildings and a service center. They are expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2017 and will employ about 3,000.
Cerner, which currently employs 15,900 worldwide, will add more jobs than that at The Trails campus between 2017 and 2025. And those will be new jobs, Cerner President Zane Burke emphasized.
"We're not relocating, backfilling or consolidating," said Burke, who characterized the new jobs as "proof of our commitment to Kansas City."
Burke said the 4.7 million square foot campus will be developed in 16 phases and will include 16 buildings. Upon completion, it will include 4.3 million square feet of office space, two data centers, a service center, a training/conference center and employee amenities, including an onsite daycare center and health clinic, he said.
In addition, Burke said, the campus will include 370,000 square feet of retail space, providing options for restaurants, stores and a hotel.
"Our new Trails Campus is an investment in the hometown Cerner planted roots in 35 years ago and a hub for innovation as we continue to fulfill our mission to improve health care both globally and here in the Kansas City region," Burke said.
Cerner's seventh Kansas City area location, The Trails is projected to cost $2.32 billion to build plus $2.12 billion for carrying costs. A $1.745 billion package of city and state incentives was approved for the project.
"Cerner's multi-billion dollar investment represents a huge vote of confidence in the skills of our workforce and the strength of our economy," Gov. Nixon said. "By redeveloping hundreds of acres of a blighted area and creating up to 16,000 jobs, Cerner's Trails Campus will have a profound and positive impact on this region and our state for decades to come."
Founded in Kansas City in 1979, North Kansas City based Cerner is a global supplier of health care technology solutions serving clients ranging from single doctor practices to major hospitals, pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers. The company's solutions are used by more than 447,600 providers and licensed by more than 14,000 facilities in 22 countries.
"This groundbreaking signifies yet another gigantic development for this innovative local company," Mayor James said. "I'm so grateful that Cerner has chosen to strengthen its roots in the Kansas City community and look forward to many more years of good news coming from this outstanding corporate partner."