The federal government has formally begun its search for new office space in downtown Kansas City to house about 1,000 employees now at the Bannister Federal Complex.
The General Services Administration informed potential landlords it is seeking up to 168,588 square feet. The deadline for responses is Dec. 21. The employees are expected to be out of Bannister and in their new digs by December 2014.
The decision to rent space for the employees now at Bannister instead of building a new downtown federal office building was first reported in The Star in February.
Civic leaders had pushed for a new building since 2006.
But Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II said in a statement Wednesday:
"Relocating almost 1,000 GSA employees who will work, eat and shop in downtown Kansas City is an economic shot in the arm that will help revitalize the heart of our city."
The Bannister Federal Complex in south Kansas City is scheduled to close by 2014. The sprawling complex, which was built during World War II to make warplane engines, has been gradually emptied of its federal tenants in recent years.
The Internal Revenue Service and National Archives already have relocated to the downtown area, and a replacement for the Honeywell nuclear weapons parts plant is nearing completion at Missouri 150 and Botts Road.
CenterPoint Properties of Chicago, the firm building the new Honeywell plant for the National Nuclear Security Administration, was chosen in August by the nuclear security agency to redevelop the old Bannister complex after it is vacated.
"This is a win-win for the Kansas City metro area," Jason Klumb, regional administrator for the GSA, said in a statement.
In its request for office space, the GSA defined the downtown area as being bordered on the north by Interstate 70; on the south by 27th Street; on the east by Campbell Street, and on the west by Interstate 35. The government is seeking a 20-year lease.