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KC Southern Plans Likely Headquarters Expansion Downtown Moves to Buy City-Owned Parking Lots Next Door

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Above image credit: Kansas City Southern (background) has an agreement with the city to purchase the property next door at 1200 Broadway for a likely headquarters expansion project.
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3 minute read

Kansas City Southern is partnering with Americo to redevelop city-owned property at 12th and Broadway for what will likely be a mixed-use, high-rise project that would include an expanded headquarters of the railroad company, which is being acquired by Canadian Pacific.

City Manager Brian Platt submitted a development agreement to the City Council in response to a request for proposals last fall. It calls for the city to sell what’s now parking lots at 1200 and 1210 Broadway next to Kansas City Southern’s offices.

“Moving forward with a project to turn a 1.1 acre surface parking lot downtown into two high rise towers with hundreds of apartments, affordable housing, retail, and office space for KC Southern,” Platt stated on social media, providing additional details.

The city manager added that an existing underutilized five-level underground garage will provide parking.

The agreement calls for the city-owned properties to be bought and redeveloped by Kansas City Southern and Americo.

Americo is affiliated with Financial Holding Corp., which is controlled by the Merriman family, one of Kansas City’s most influential, but low-profile, business leaders.

Last fall, Platt told CityScene the property was a “tremendous” site for high-density, mixed-used development.

“It could be office space, residential … the zoning already is in place,” he said then. “We’d also consider a higher density and height there.”

Aerial view of parking lots next to the Kansas City Southern headquarters.
The city had issued a request for proposals for property along Broadway across from Bartle Hall. The KC Southern headquarters is at the upper left at 12th and Washington streets. (Map | Kansas City)

In April, Platt told CityScene the city had been in discussions with Kansas City Southern about a partnership to develop the property currently used as a parking lot. It’s located southwest of 12th and Broadway across from Bartle Hall.

“We have a good working relationship with them,” Platt said then.

“They want to expand. We own some property, that parking lot. They own some property. We’ve had conversations about partnerships and collaborations there.”

Officials at Kansas City Southern and Platt could not be reached immediately for comment.

The timing of the proposed sale of the property comes a day after federal regulators approved the $31 billion merger of KC Southern and Canadian Pacific into a new entity called Canadian Pacific Kansas City.

The new railroad will be the first North American carrier spanning the United States, Canada and Mexico.

As part of the plan, the U.S. headquarters of the expanded railroad will be shifted from Minneapolis to Kansas City. There are about 200 employees at the Minneapolis headquarters, although the firm has not identified how many would be transferred.

In an email last spring, Warren Erdman, Kansas City Southern executive vice president, said the company was interested in the future of the city-owned property next door.

“We are looking at our options and have not decided at this time how we might participate in the RFP, but as I’ve testified previously, we certainly have interest in what might be developed next to our corporate headquarters,” he said.

Kansas City Southern opened its current six-story headquarters at the southeast corner of 12th and Washington streets in 2002. It was designed by BNIM architects, and the architectural firm’s webpage said a second building is envisioned for the property to the east.

Kanas City Southern’s headquarters at 12th and Washington streets.
Kanas City Southern’s headquarters opened in 2002 at 12th and Washington streets. (Photo | BNIM architecture)

Should the railroad expand its headquarters, it would be an encouraging signal from the private sector about the downtown core.

While downtown has increased its residential population substantially and added new entertainment, and food and beverage venues, private employers have been slow to follow suit.

The city paid $5.4 million for the 1200 Broadway property in 2019. Platt said the price could be negotiable or waived depending on the value of what’s proposed.

In its RFP last fall, the city said any office plan would have to include at least 33% net new jobs. A potential residential project would have to reserve 20% of its units as affordable under the city’s new standard of 60% of area media income.

Flatland contributor Kevin Collison is the founder of CityScene KC, an online source for downtown news and issues.

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