By the BF Staff
From the January/February 2017 Issue
General Motors is investing $55 million in a new operation that will employ about 500 workers at a building near its Fairfax assembly plant in Kansas City, KS, according to a recent report in the Kansas City Star.
The automaker will lease and occupy the 830,000-square-foot industrial building under construction by NorthPoint Development in the Fairfax Industrial District. NorthPoint is about two-thirds of the way finished with the project.
Chad Meyer, president and chief operating officer for NorthPoint, said General Motors will use the building as a “logistics optimization center” that would help make its assembly plant operate more efficiently. The plant builds the Chevrolet Malibu and Buick LaCrosse.
Already one of Wyandotte County’s largest employers with more than 3,000 workers at the Fairfax plant, General Motors’ profile in Kansas City, KS, will increase with this newest venture. And it’s another demonstration of the staying power that industrial and manufacturing development has in the Kansas City area.
Joel Kotkin, an urban studies researcher and author who spoke at the Kansas City Area Development Council’s annual meeting last fall, said that day that Kansas City should focus on its strengths. Industrial development, he said, was on that list.
The GM expansion, which did not involve any state-level incentives to the automaker, follows an announcement that CVS Pharmacy plans to open a distribution center in the Northland’s Skyport Industrial Park. That development is expected to create between 360 and 400 jobs. NorthPoint would sell the land it owns at Skyport to CVS to develop the distribution center that can grow to more than 1 million square feet. It’s been described as a $110 million development.
Coupled with a pair of announcements last year that Amazon would build fulfillment centers in Edgerton and Kansas City, KS, that would each hire more than 1,000 workers, industrial, logistical and manufacturing sectors have emerged as bright spots in Kansas City’s economy.
JOINT AUTO SUPPLY VENTURE IN WICHITA
Kyodo Yushi USA Inc. and Wichita-based Lubrication Engineers Inc. will form a new company and locate an advanced manufacturing facility in Wichita, KS.
Japan-based Kyodo Yushi USA Inc. and Wichita-based Lubrication Engineers Inc. will form a new company, Kyodo Yushi Manufacturing Americas, and locate its headquarters and an advanced manufacturing facility in Wichita, KS. The new company will produce lubricants for the automotive industry.
“We are excited to announce these plans for our company and for Wichita,” said Scott Schwindaman, President and CEO of Lubrication Engineers, Inc. “The more we talked, the more we realized our two companies share a similar culture of quality and innovation.
We look forward to being part of this new venture, and we’re excited about it for the community too because of the growth, diversification and potential for advanced research.”
Hitoshi Samejima, president of Kyodo Yushi USA said, “We are excited about this planned partnership and venture. We look forward to getting to know Wichita and the community better, and in the planning process, the people we have met through the Greater Wichita Partnership, the city and others have been very welcoming.”
Kyodo Yushi Manufacturing Americas will start construction on a 115,000-square-foot advanced manufacturing plant next year. The city has granted the company a 76.5 percent tax abatement on the property tax on the buildings for five years, with the likely renewal for a second five years.
“It is partnerships like this that allow companies across the world to bring their various areas of expertise together to produce innovation,” said Kansas Department of Commerce Secretary Antonio Soave. “It is our goal at Commerce to assist companies like Kyodo Yushi USA and Lubrication Engineers so that they may form partnerships that will help grow businesses and the Kansas economy.”