By Jonathan Sanders
From the July/August 2014 issue
The Kansas Department of Commerce has announced that four Kansas cities and counties will participate in a Local Technology Planning Pilot project as part of the Kansas Statewide Broadband Initiative (KSBI). Dodge City/Ford County, Fort Scott/Bourbon County, Norton/Norton County and Topeka/Shawnee County will work with consultants, local partners and Commerce to understand broadband needs and priorities, and develop strategic plans to meet their objectives.
“Quality broadband is critical for success in today’s economy,” Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said. “Businesses and entrepreneurs need broadband to communicate, reach customers, utilize services in the cloud, develop products and conduct numerous other activities. Kansas service providers have been leaders in providing innovative broadband, but it’s important to understand what challenges remain across the state and how communities and businesses can work together to address those.”
The objective of the KSBI is to promote economic and community development in Kansas through state availability and use of quality broadband services, infrastructure and applications. By harnessing the power of a robust broadband infrastructure, Kansas is positioned to be a pioneer in the next generation of innovative applications used to grow businesses and communities.
The cities and counties participating in the Local Technology Planning Pilot will work to improve their organizational capacity and establish a technology planning direction. This will be accomplished by documenting and quantifying local supply, demand and economic impact. Modeling will show the network cost to serve, demand and revenue, unique local factors and future projections. The strategy reports developed in each pilot project will incorporate analytical findings, best practices and next steps that local stakeholders recommend.
“This project does not provide funding for infrastructure, but instead allows us to work with local partners to help communities and businesses assess their broadband needs and develop strategies for meeting those needs,” said KSBI Program Director Stanley Adams. “The initial four communities participating in the pilot represent a range of geographic and demographic profiles designed to assess rural and underserved priorities. Communities across the state will be able to draw from the best practices and strategies these communities develop as part of the pilot project.”
QUEST EXPANDS IN LENEXA
Quest Diagnostics Inc. has subleased a vacant 77,000-square-foot building in Lenexa’s Renner Ridge Corporate Center. T-Mobile US Inc. vacated the building at 9601 Renner Blvd. last June as part of a consolidation.
Quest Diagnostics, which is based in Madison, NJ, will be expanding at the Renner Ridge building, which is configured as a 600-seat call center. The company has had a presence in Lenexa since 2005, when it bought LabOne Inc. at 10101 Renner Blvd. for $934 million, according to a report in the Kansas City Business Journal.
Ryan Schneider and Gary O’Dell of Jones Lang LaSalle were the listing agents for the building at 9601 Renner. It was listed at $11 a square foot triple net, or $20 a foot full service. Bab Fagan of CBRE Inc. represented Quest Diagnostics.
The sublease deal was the second big real estate development at Renner Ridge Corporate Center in the past 90 days.
In April, Kiewit Power Constructors bought a 129,000-square-foot office building at 9701 Renner Blvd. for expansion from the National Credit Union Administration.
U.S. Central Federal Credit Union had occupied the building for 10 years before regulators seized the institution in 2009. It was listed for $14.3 million, or $110 a square foot. The price paid by Kiewit was not disclosed.
GO CONFIGURE MOVES TO PITTSBURG
Go Configure is relocating its administrative and call center operations to Pittsburg later this year. The company expects to invest more than $9 million and will create 35 new jobs initially, with an additional five jobs expected in the next two years.
Go Configure was recently acquired by Backyard Leisure Holdings, which was founded and remains headquartered in Pittsburg. Backyard Leisure Holdings CEO Ron Scripsick said that adding Go Configure to the Backyard Leisure portfolio was an important part of the company’s growth strategy.
“Go Configure is a solid company with almost 20 years of experience providing the highest level of service in the delivery, assembly and repair field,” said Scripsick. “They were a good fit for us and we look forward to growing with them well into the future.”
Go Configure is a national leader in home delivery, assembly and repair services. The company was founded in 1996 and now serves more than 1,000 retail locations in 48 states from its current headquarters in Chicago. The company’s clientele includes some of the world’s leading retailers, such as Sam’s Club, Dick’s Sporting Goods, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Toys “R” Us, Lowe’s and Backyard Discovery. Go Configure’s operation includes a call center, which fields nearly one million calls for service each year, and a fleet of installation specialists across the country.
“Pittsburg is fortunate to have some of the nation’s most successful companies in our community and we look forward to growing with them well into the future,” said Mayor Monica Murnan.
“It’s great that Backyard Leisure Holdings is expanding its operations in Pittsburg,” Kansas Commerce Secretary Pat George said. “Our state has been building a business environment that supports the growth of Kansas companies and encourages this sort of job creation and investment.”
Go Configure plans to relocate to the current DEPCO LLC facility in Pittsburg’s airport industrial park. The company will begin transferring operations this summer with plans to be fully operational in the Pittsburg facility by October.