FBI Downtown HQ in Play, Northland Site Pitched

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Rendering of FBI building proposed by Metro North Crossing. (Image from City Plan Commission application)

By Kevin Collison

The Kansas City regional FBI office, a downtown fixture since at least 1920, is investigating a new home and is being pitched on a Northland site, although other location offers are expected including the downtown riverfront.

The agency, which is currently housed in a fortress-like setting at 1300 Summit, is seeking what was described in a GSA prospectus as 137,000 square feet of space for what’s expected to be 350 employees by the time its current lease expires in 2025.

“The proposed lease will allow FBI to modernize and streamline space usage, resulting in a more efficient operation for FBI’s increasing mission demands,” according to a prospectus issued by the General Services Administration in late 2018.

A more recent request for proposals issued in January set a mid-February deadline for responses. The area being considered includes much of the Northland and greater downtown Kansas City.

The current regional FBI headquarters sets on an isolated site overlooking downtown at 1300 Summit.

One candidate that’s emerged is a proposed 200,000 square-foot building at Metro North Crossing. A California developer, Cunningham Development, is working with Metro North Crossing on the plan, according to city documents.

The 12-acre location is at 220 NW Metro North Dr. next to the Tschotz Golf entertainment center. A rezoning request for the proposed office project, which includes 297 surface parking spaces, was endorsed in late April by the City Plan Commission.

Sources say the FBI is the tenant being sought for the project. Officials with the GSA, FBI and Metro North Crossing all declined to comment.

“GSA does not comment on active procurements,” Alison Kohler, the spokesperson for the organization, said in an emailed statement. The GSA serves as the landlord for federal agencies,

One site being pitched for the FBI offices is at Metro North Crossing. (Image from City Plan Commission application)

A knowledgeable real estate industry source said the Metro North Crossing site is expected to be one of several being pitched to the GSA, including others in the I-29 corridor, the downtown riverfront and the FBI’s current location.

The FBI has been at 1300 Summit since 1998. The building was built specially for the agency which is its sole tenant and the current lease expires in June 2025.

The agency also is leasing space at 4150 N. Mulberry Dr. in Briarcliff to “address additional FBI field office requirements,” according to the GSA.

That lease expires in May 2027. Some FBI operations are expected to remain at the Briarcliff location, but others will be consolidated at the new site.

The Metro North Crossing proposal endorsed by the Plan Commission includes a 100-foot setback from the perimeter fence, and other security requirements being sought for the FBI.

In its 2018 prospectus, the GSA estimated the rent for the FBI project would be $34 per square foot, with a 2 percent annual inflation included, which would be one of the higher amounts paid in the metro.

The proposed Metro North Crossing site for the FBI includes a security zone around the building. (Image from City Plan Commission application)

The deal calls for a 20-year lease with the option for another 10 years. The FBI would be the sole tenant in the project.

The GSA timetable calls for offers to be due this spring with the building completed by mid- to late 2022.

A potential riverfront site would be another attempt by Port KC, formerly the Port Authority, to land a major federal office project to that area.

In 2006, the agency lobbied the GSA to build a new home next to Berkley Riverfront Park  for hundreds of federal workers displaced when the Bannister Federal Complex was being decommissioned.

The GSA eventually leased space for the employees at Two Pershing Square.

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