Development

Garmin launches $200 million expansion at Olathe headquarters

The master plan for expansion of Garmin International in Olathe shows a new 720,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehouse facility at an angle on the 96-acre headquarters campus.
The master plan for expansion of Garmin International in Olathe shows a new 720,000-square-foot manufacturing and warehouse facility at an angle on the 96-acre headquarters campus. Gould Evans

A new warehouse and distribution center for Garmin International Inc. will be built on a new road named One Garmin Way.

Garmin, maker of navigation and wireless devices, and the city of Olathe will jointly announce Friday that groundbreaking will begin for a $200 million expansion project at the company’s headquarters.

The new construction includes a 720,000-square-foot manufacturing and distribution center and a new loop road that will extend through the campus at 151st Street and South Ridgeview Road.

The new facility will take two years to build. After that, the company plans to spend another two years renovating its existing manufacturing and warehouse space to become research, development and office space.

“We need a world-class facility that can attract and retain the highest level of talent,” said Cliff Pemble, Garmin CEO. He called the new development “essential to Garmin’s success.”

McCownGordon is the general contractor, and Gould Evans is the designer and architect.

The company now employs about 2,800 on its 96-acre headquarters property. The completed expansion would accommodate 2,600 more workers.

  

Company spokesman Ted Gartner said there is no decision yet about whether around 600 Garmin workers who now work elsewhere in the Kansas City area would be moved to the expanded headquarters.

Mayor Michael Copeland said naming the new campus roadway One Garmin Way was an appropriate acknowledgment of the company’s location in Olathe since 1995.

“The company is unquestionably a strong economic engine for the city,” Copeland said. “Just as importantly, many of their associates choose to make Olathe their home or contribute in other ways to our community.”

The expansion plans had faced some local opposition, though. Neighbors whose homes abut the Garmin property had protested last year when the master plan went before the Olathe Planning Commission.

The commission rebuffed the plan after residents said the new building would be too big and too close to their residential neighborhood. Others said they feared more traffic in the area. But the Olathe City Council approved the plan in December.

When completed, the expanded headquarters will offer 2.1 million square feet of building space, including a fitness center and cafeteria. Outdoors, it will offer athletic fields and a 2-mile walking trail.

The project also has added traffic lanes and a stoplight on Ridgeview north of 151st Street, and more road improvements are planned on 151st Street.

Gartner said groundbreaking waited “for business conditions to be right.”

Garmin International is a business unit of Garmin Ltd., based in Switzerland. The parent company reported in July that it had double-digit sales growth in the second quarter in its fitness and outdoor product lines.

For the year, Garmin Ltd. set its earnings outlook at $2.50 a share, up from $2.25 a year ago. Full-year revenues are expected to be $2.9 billion, up from $2.82 billion.

Diane Stafford: 816-234-4359, @kcstarstafford

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