A new $350 million development bringing nearly 2,000 jobs was announced today for the Kansas Speedway area, at 118th and State Avenue in Wyandotte County.
Urban Outfitters, after evaluating markets across the central United States, selected Wyandotte County for the home for its new ecommerce direct fulfillment center, said Tim Cowden, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council. He made the announcement during a Zoom news conference on Wednesday afternoon.
Urban Outfitters has about 200 stores nationwide, Cowden said. The company, with headquarters in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, will use the new URBN distribution and fulfillment center as a logistics node for the general merchandise and consumer products Urban Outfitters company.
The new development will be an 880,000-square-foot multi-channel distribution center, according to the announcement. There will be 60,000 square feet of office space. Ground will be broken in the fall, and it may begin operating in early 2022.
Gov. Laura Kelly, Mayor David Alvey, NASCAR Vice President Lesa Kennedy, and several other officials participated in the Zoom announcement.
Gov. Kelly said this will be a “transformational project for the state.”
She said Urban Outfitters saw the value in a central location and strong infrastructure. They also found out more about what makes Kansas special – the people, she said. The Kansas work ethic is unmatched anywhere, the governor said.
Mayor Alvey said he was deeply impressed by the company’s vision.
“Urban is the kind of community business partner that we need to attract as we continue to grow our tax base, as we try to provide better and more services to all of our neighborhoods throughout Kansas City, Kansas, and Wyandotte County,” Mayor Alvey said.
Urban has committed to a long-term investment, Mayor Alvey said, and will strive to hire 35 percent of its workforce from Wyandotte County, he said. He also said the company is committed to using minority and women-owned businesses in the construction of the project, and will work with the Unified Government to provide transit services to employees. They also will provide child care solutions for employees, he said.
A workforce partnership with Kansas City Kansas Community College is planned.
Mayor Alvey said the company has committed to paying a wage of $18 an hour, which is a significant improvement on the median wage in Wyandotte County.
“We all know the very serious economic challenge that the COVID pandemic presents to all of us,” Mayor Alvey said. But they continue to see new development in Kansas City, Kansas, and the area.
He said they expect $270,000 in additional revenues for the city of Kansas City, Kansas, from this project, which is very significant for the community. Also, Bonner Springs school district would receive $200,000 to $220,000 a year, which is also significant, he said.
He thanked state officials, along with economic development officials, for their work on the project.
Incentives were not announced today, and they are currently working with the company on them, the mayor said in answer to a question at the news conference.
Lesa Kennedy, executive vice president of NASCAR, said they joined with Hillwood Development to find the best and highest uses for land. This property is “absolutely perfect” to do a deal with Urban, according to Kennedy.
Todd Platt, CEO of Hillwood Development of Ft. Worth, Texas, said Urban Outfitters is a strong retail company. He believes there will be a lot more investment in this community in the future. Ross Perot Jr. is chairman.
David Ziel, chief development officer at Urban Outfitters, said it will be a complex facility requiring a talented workforce to run it. He said they have been working on this project for 10 months.
“People first is the No. 1 driver of this decision,” Ziel said. “Kansas wins on the quality of the people.”