I am sure you read or heard last week that Cerner is going to purchase the former Bannister Mall site with the intention of building in excess of 1 million square feet of new offices to house up to 15,000 employees. Its a great win for that part of Kansas City and it means success for Kansas City, Kan., too.
By Joe Reardon
Special to The Star
Far too often in the context of this border war we tend to frame a new development thats a gain for one local jurisdiction as a loss for another. Dont get me wrong, that can and does happen. This is not an example of such a deal.
Cerner is clearly a hometown success story. A business that is on the cutting edge, a leader in its field, and rapidly expanding with high-paying jobs. It is the exact kind of company that other cities economic development departments would try to steal and relocate away from Kansas City.
Instead, the local founders of this company have made a commitment to expand and stay in Kansas City. While that may seem logical to someone from here, the pressure to look for a new headquarters location has to be immense.
Cerner needs the best and brightest minds, not just from the Midwest but from all over the country. Arguably, the company would want to attract the best minds from throughout the world. Its competitive advantage in business is the knowledge and innovation it brings to the table. I can only imagine Cerner is told frequently that recruitment and hiring would be easier if it moved to greener pastures.
But this Fortune 500 company is committed to Kansas City all of Kansas City. As such, its growth in jobs will provide the fuel that every region wants and needs to grow.
Such a presence also gives us a wider reach for other businesses both large and small to be attracted to our region. It creates not just buildings but momentum and real growth in our regional economy.
Cerners further commitment in Kansas City means lasting commitment in Kansas City, Kan. Cerners new buildings at Bannister and the new jobs and people that will come means a lasting effect on the cultural, neighborhood and community assets we all hold dear from Sporting Park to the Kansas City Zoo to the soccer fields in Overland Park.
Kansas City, Kan. and Kansas City, for that matter all of Kansas City, need to align our resources around economic development and growth to capitalize on just this sort of economic activity. Yes, Cerners plans are a win for the Bannister area but more so a big boost for the region. The question now: How do we take this opportunity to the next step and put this Kansas City region even more on the map for its innovative and business friendly environment?
When we do that, we all win.
Joe Reardon, of Kansas City, Kan., is a former mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan. After leaving office, he joined the law firm McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips, in Kansas City, Kan.