Concrete has begun to rise on the largest economic development project in Missouri history, Cerner Corp.’s new Trails Campus in south Kansas City.
Cranes now stand over construction on the first two towers of the $4.45 billion project, which will be Cerner’s third office campus in the metro area.
Planned for completion in late 2016, the two towers are the first construction phase on a 290-acre site that formerly was the Bannister Mall and Benjamin Plaza shopping centers, east of Interstate 435 between 87th and 95th streets.
Fast-growing Cerner broke ground on the Trails Campus in November 2014.
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Plans call for 4.7 million square feet of new office space in 16 buildings over 10 years. The company received $1.75 billion worth of incentives from the city and the state to help finance the campus project, which has a construction cost estimate of $2.32 billion.
Spokeswoman Victoria Guerra said the first two buildings will accommodate more than 3,500 workers, about one-fifth of the eventual total employment. The move-in date for the first workers is likely to be early 2017.
The newest campus will join Cerner’s headquarters in North Kansas City and its “Continuous” campus in Wyandotte County. The new buildings are designed by Gould Evans, mimicking exterior architecture on the Kansas campus.
“The window pattern at Continuous, which is a nod to the sequencing patterns of DNA, will also be echoed at the Trails,” Guerra said.
The exterior, which also harkens to the punchcard pattern of computer cards from early programming days, reflects Cerner’s business at the intersection of medicine and computer records. It has grown to a global leadership position in helping hospitals and doctors’ offices computerize patient medical records to make them “interoperable” among health care providers.
JE Dunn is the general contractor on the first two phases. Construction officials have reported that rain delays slowed some work but the towers are on schedule for completion.
Excavation for the whole site is about 45 percent complete, Guerra said. The early work includes moving utilities throughout the area and grading for parking lots.
The first tower, the southern of the two buildings now under construction, will have 500,000 square feet on 11 floors. The second tower will have 305,000 square feet on eight floors. The first phase also includes a 90,000-square-foot service center.