After months of negotiations, Kansas City has hired a Dallas-based real estate development firm to help draw new businesses to the vacant property surrounding Kansas City International Airport.
Trammell Crow Co. will develop a master plan for a 640-acre tract of airport property southeast of the KCI airfield.
The company is expected to have an outline of the master plan completed by mid-October, said David Long, the Kansas City Aviation Department's assistant director of properties and commercial development.
An agreement recently approved by the City Council sets several building and leasing deadlines for Trammell Crow. The agreement can be terminated if Trammell Crow fails to meet those deadlines.
But airport officials said they are confident they have found the right developer.
Kansas City Aviation Director Mark VanLoh said that Trammell Crow has one of the country's most respected airport facilities development divisions.
The company has done projects at the International Air CargoCentres at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Portland International Airport.
"We really feel they know what they are doing," VanLoh said about Trammell Crow.
City Manager Wayne Cauthen and area business leaders have been intent on generating more economic activity from the 8,000 vacant acres of airport property, which stretches west to Interstate 435 and south to Tiffany Springs Parkway.
A study released last year said that developing the vacant airport property could produce thousands of new jobs in the future.
And more than two years ago, airport officials identified the 640-acre tract, which is west of Interstate 29, as the best place to start marketing to potential businesses.
Trammell Crow's efforts will focus on that tract.
"We see a strong opportunity for industrial development in this area," said Steven Bradford, a principal who leads Trammell Crow's airport development group.
Potential uses for that area include a distribution center, air cargo facility, light manufacturing, office space and commercial businesses.
"It's a great location," Bradford said. "Access is not good right now, but will be excellent with the planned infrastructure improvements."
The Aviation Department is spending $8 million to extend Tiffany Springs Parkway to North Amity Avenue.
The parkway now ends a few blocks west of the interchange at I-29.
That road project is in its design stage, VanLoh said, and could be completed next year.
VanLoh said he expects the city to make improvements to North Amity all the way to the 640-acre tract once a building is up.
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The agreement would name Trammell Crow, a Dallas-based real estate company with national and international operations, master developer of 640 acres of dormant airport property southeast of the runway...
The focus is to use the airport's expansive real estate holdings -- 12.5 square miles, not its air service, as the primary engine for growth.
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VanLoh: "We want to compete with the big guys."