B&B Breaks Ground

B&B Theatres officially began construction Wednesday on a new 7-screen luxury cinema within the New Longview commercial area of Lee’s Summit. The mixed-use project is being developed by Box Development and brings ‘New Urbanism’ development to Lee’s Summit. 

“This state-of-the-art theatre will be a great addition to New Longview’s premiere, mixed-use ‘New Urbanism’ entertainment district,” said B&B Theatres President Bob Bagby. “We are looking forward to sharing the magic of the movies with Lee’s Summit early next year and are excited to be working with Box Real Estate Development and Platform Ventures on this project.” 

 The project also adds momentum to the city’s flourishing west side along the View High Corridor, according to Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council President Rick McDowell. 

 “We call all of this new development along View High Drive our very own ‘West Side Story’ and are thrilled to see so much commercial and residential construction taking place between the historic Longview Farm and extending north to I-470 with the Paragon Star Soccer Village. It is a very exciting time for Lee’s Summit,” McDowell said.

Read More Here



Lee’s Summit EDC launches web portal to connect employers with job seekers

LEE’S SUMMIT, MO — May 11, 2017 — The Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council has launched a job-search site aimed at connecting job seekers to potential Lee’s Summit employers with open positions. The no-fee service can be accessed here and features links to employment and internship opportunities and online applications.

The Lee’s Summit EDC launched the initiative to assist local businesses with identifying and hiring qualified, reliable employees, according to LSEDC President and CEO Rick McDowell. “I would say that workforce development is the No. 1 issue for companies right now,” McDowell said. “Businesses are increasingly concerned that there aren’t enough skilled workers to fill available positions, so this new web portal is another way LSEDC can help our local businesses connect with the local workforce.”

Lee’s Summit already serves as a national model for building public/private partnerships to improve workforce training and development through its Summit Technology Academy/Missouri Innovation Campus. Scheduled to open in August, STA/MIC is a new $50 million, 140,000-square foot campus that will house a partnership between the Lee’s Summit R-7 School District, the University of Central Missouri and Metropolitan Community College.

Options for students attending STA/MIC range from two- and four-year degree programs, paid internships lasting up to three years, as well as on-the-job training and vocational technical training.

“Lee’s Summit is ahead of the curve when it comes to connecting educational institutions, students, the business community and jobs being created,” said Jessica Hamilton, LSEDC director of investor and community relations. “This new web portal brings job seekers and opportunities closer together.” The web portal also will be used to promote local hiring events and job fairs. To share your hiring event, email Jessica Hamilton at jhamilton@leessummit.org.

Ms. Hamilton recently presented to the LSEDC Advisory Board along with KCADC’s (Kansas City Area Development Council) Jessica Nelson on the collaborative workforce efforts between Lee’s Summit and Kansas City through TeamKC. Hamilton has spent her first few months – ground running, meeting with local businesses and education leaders to connect the dots. See her presentation posted here along with KCADC’s deep-dive on Generation Z.

About Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council | The LSEDC is a public-private sector partnership devoted to improving the economic well-being of residents and businesses in Lee’s Summit through its mission: To attract and retain business investment and jobs by partnering with allies to create and market a high-quality-of-life, pro-business community.

For More Information:

Tina Bell Chace | 816-525-6617 | tchace@leessummit.org

Krista Klaus | 913-284-5752 | kklaus@leessummit.org


MEDC Announces State Cut to Missouri Partnership

Budget Back in Governor Greitens’ Hands

On Thursday, the General Assembly sent its fiscal year 2018 budget to Governor Greitens.  The General Assembly was tasked with cutting more than $500 million from the budget, making this the worst state budget situation in at least a generation.  Given the dire fiscal forecast, almost no program or institution’s budget was left uncut.

Missouri Partnership

The legislature eliminated the business recruitment and marketing line item in House Bill 7 that the State of Missouri uses to contract with the Missouri Partnership.  The Partnership is Missouri’s lead business attraction unit, which has attracted 3,400 jobs to the state in the last ten months.  The Partnership receives a sizable portion of its funding from the State, but receives some additional funds from private sector donations – which will be needed to sustain the Partnership’s success through this difficult state budget cycle.

*** Published directly from Missouri Economic Development Council (MEDC) subscriber email

City of Lee’s Summit Breaks Ground on Route 291 and U.S. 50 Interchange

$16 million diverging diamond project touted as key to economic growth and investment

The City of Lee’s Summit and its project partners celebrated the official construction kickoff for the new $16 million interchange at Route 291 South and U.S. 50 on Wednesday, May 3 at the Harris Park Community Center, 110 S.W. Blue Parkway. The project includes reconstruction of the Route 291 overpass bridge into a diverging diamond design, adds a roundabout at Blue Parkway and Jefferson Street, and realigns Oldham Parkway.

“This new interchange will help ease congestion through a heavily traveled residential and commercial route while enhancing safety and improving access for pedestrians and cyclists,” said Lee’s Summit Mayor Randall Rhoads. “In addition to improving traffic flow and reducing accidents, the new interchange will increase economic development activity in the surrounding area.”

Reconstruction of the 40-year-old bridge and interchange has been a long-standing priority of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council and the Lee’s Summit business community. LSEDC President and CEO Rick McDowell predicts the corridor is the next frontier for economic growth.

“This project opens up hundreds of acres for commercial development,” McDowell said. “With The Grove mixed-use development to the southeast slated to begin spec industrial construction this year, and Pinetree Plaza shopping center on the northwest quadrant targeted for redevelopment, this new interchange will serve as a gateway to the south side of Lee’s Summit.”

A decade ago, a group of Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council investors formed the Gateway Business Alliance roundtable to advocate for public funding of transportation infrastructure projects, including the 291/50 interchange. In 2014, Lee’s Summit voters approved a no-tax-increase, $10 million bond issue to help finance the improvements.

“The Gateway Business Alliance was formed to help build awareness of the important role that transportation investment plays in a thriving business community. This interchange is among the most important initiatives we have undertaken, and it is hugely gratifying to finally break ground on this project,” said Chip Moxley, CEO of Tingle Flooring and co-chair of the Gateway Business Alliance.

The new $16.02 million interchange is funded through a three-part cost sharing agreement, with the City of Lee’s Summit paying $8 million; the US Department of Transportation paying $6.8 million through funds secured through the Mid-America Regional Council; and the Missouri Department of Transportation paying the remaining $1.22 million.

“This project would not be possible without the collaboration at all levels of government,” said Lee’s Summit Public Works Director Dena Mezger. “We are excited to continue our great relationship with MoDOT on this priority project. We also are very grateful to the voters of Lee’s Summit who approved the bonds for the city portion of the funding.”

Radmacher Brothers Construction based in Pleasant Hill, Mo., is providing general construction services for the interchange project, and GBA Architects and Engineers of Lenexa, Kan. provided engineering and design services.

“We always appreciate the opportunity to do projects for the City of Lee’s Summit. Diverging diamond projects can present traffic control challenges, and when you add a roundabout it gets even more complicated, but the public always appreciates the finished product,” said Radmacher Brothers Owner Robert Radmacher.

The project should be completed in late 2018. Additional project partners include the Lee’s Summit Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, and Friends of Lee’s Summit.

For More Information:

Sarah Shore | Lee’s Summit Public Works | 816-969-1800 | sarah.shore@cityofls.net

Tina Chace | Lee’s Summit EDC | 816-525-6617 | tchace@leessummit.org

Krista Klaus | Lee’s Summit EDC | 913-284-5752 | kklaus@leessummit.org

OATS Public Transportation Expanded to Include TMC Lakewood

Lee’s Summit, Mo.— April 18, 2017– OATS public transportation system has expanded its Lee’s Summit service to include Truman Medical Center Lakewood located just outside city limits. Under a new agreement with the City of Lee’s Summit, OATS also increased its hours of operations through evening drive time and reduced one-way fares by $.50.

“This expansion is welcomed by TMC Lakewood. It is challenging to recruit and retain employees without timely and consistent public transportation options available to them,” said Lynette M. Wheeler, COO of TMC Lakewood. “The hours of operation and affordability will be a real benefit to our employees.”

For $1.50 per trip and with a  24-hour advance reservation, OATS provides place-to-place public transit for any person regardless of age or ability from Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Prior to April 1, OATS fares were $2, and service hours were 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

“With 1,200 employees, TMC Lakewood is one of Lee’s Summit’s largest employers. The expansion of OATS provides a flexible, affordable transit service to those workers that previously was not available,” said Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council President and CEO Rick McDowell. “We appreciate the City’s support of the expansion of OATS service area in order to assist the Lee’s Summit workforce.”

Demand response transit service previously was provided through KCATA MetroFlex Route 252 and OATS within Lee’s Summit for more than a decade. The decision to discontinue MetroFlex service while expanding OATS service followed a City of Lee’s Summit Transit Study that recommended greater efficiency, added capacity, expanded service and lower cost for demand response transit services.

The service will be available within the City limits of Lee’s Summit and to/from TMC – Lakewood Medical Center located just beyond the City limits, which is an expansion of the service area when compared to MetroFlex. The fare will be $1.50 per one-way trip, which is a reduction in fare for OATS to match MetroFlex’s one-way trip rate.

About OATS Inc.

OATS, Inc. is a not-for-profit 501(c) 3 corporation providing specialized transportation for thousands of Missourians in 87 Missouri counties. OATS employs more than 700 people statewide, with 24 percent of employees Veterans. OATS serves more than 32,000 people in Missouri, providing about 1.6 million one-way trips in 2016.  Its mission is to provide reliable transportation for transportation disadvantaged Missourians so they can live independently in their own communities.

For more information:

Tina Chace | 816-525-6617 | tchace@leessummit.org

Krista Klaus | 913-284-5752 | kristamartinklaus@gmail.com



Brokers and Developers: Lee’s Summit poised for peak altitude

 The region’s leading developers, brokers and attorneys offered a birds’ eye view into the Eastern Jackson County commercial real estate market on Tuesday, April 11, inside Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport’s Hangar One.

Surrounded by business aircraft and aviation mechanical equipment, panelists tackled everything from incentives to infrastructure to industrial speculative development, while updating various mixed-use and multifamily projects taking shape in Lee’s Summit and Eastern Jackson County.

Cerner’s new South Kansas City headquarters already is driving demand for new, amenity-rich single-family and multifamily housing options in Lee’s Summit and along the I-70 corridor, creating ongoing opportunity for retailers and restaurant operators.

“Families are happy and want to be in Lee’s Summit. And if you have a community where people want to live, retailers will follow,” Block & Co., Inc. Director Bill Maas said.

The consumer shift to online shopping is forcing many retailers to re-evaluate and scale back their brick-and-mortar footprints, but it also creates an opportunity for well-situated retail centers, according to Eric Mann, director of development for RED Brokerage.

“It’s location, location, location,” Mann said. “What goes into that is demographics, visibility, access and workforce. I-70 continues to be a great access point for Lee’s Summit, drawing people from areas like Odessa, Concordia and even further away.”

For Lee’s Summit, all signs point to continued growth with population expected to reach 100,000 by 2020 and new single-family building permits approaching pre-recession levels. Anecdotally, NorthPoint Development’s The Residences at New Longview apartments saw the fastest lease-up of any community to date when it opened in 2016, according to NorthPoint VP of Development Mark Pomerenke.

“That success gave us encouragement to start a second multifamily project (Summit Square), near US 50 and I-470,” Pomerenke said.

With $1 billion in public and private investment in 2015-2016, Lee’s Summit appears to be prepared for takeoff. However, panelists cautioned that rising construction costs and availability of incentives could create headwinds for future development of office and industrial space.

“There are a lot of opportunities in Jackson County and a lot of properties that don’t have infrastructure in place,” said Christine Bushyhead, an attorney whose law firm Bushyhead LLC specializes in incentives and public finance. “The fact is we need infrastructure.”

Rick McDowell, Lee’s Summit EDC president and CEO, agreed on the need for more shovel-ready sites but said development of a 200,000 square foot speculative industrial building at The Grove, an 83-acre mixed-use project on south Missouri 291, should encourage future activity.

“The key to landing advanced manufacturing and warehouse and distribution tenants is having product ready and available,” McDowell said. “We see tremendous opportunity for industrial growth near The Grove and in the area near Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport on the north side of town.”

Panelists said Lee’s Summit has potential to attract Class A office users, thanks to its strong workforce and workforce development programs supported by the Missouri Innovation Campus and Summit Technology Center.

“The biggest challenge is lack of product, but Lee’s Summit has come a long way in getting ahead and having development-ready sites,” said Michael Van Buskirk, Newmark Grubb Zimmer executive managing director.

The first phase of the $200 million Paragon Star soccer village and entertainment complex at I-470 and View High Drive is master planned for Class A office space, as well as hotel and retail space, according to Paragon Star Principal Bill Brown.

Developers of the Paragon Star soccer village and entertainment complex at I-470 and View High Drive are hoping to lure Class A office users. The first phase of the $200 million destination entertainment complex is master planned for Class A office space, as well as hotel and retail space, according to Paragon Star Principal Bill Brown.

“Paragon Star’s location is a gateway to Lee’s Summit and Eastern Jackson County, so office users and brokers should begin looking at Lee’s Summit in a different way,” Brown said.

Additional panelists at the event presented by MetroWireMedia included Ron Baker, Saint Luke’s East Hospital CEO. Lee’s Summit Mayor Randy Rhoads served as emcee, and John Lovell III, Cobbs Allen risk consultant, moderated the event.

John Ohrazda, Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport Director, teed up the discussion by updating the airport’s runway project, which will extend allow larger jets to take off and land by extending the runway to 5,500 feet. The new runway will open in August and is expected to boost corporate airport traffic by up to 30 percent.

Saint Luke’s East Hosts Investor Spotlight

“The continued growth and success of Saint Luke’s East is a true reflection of the culture and community of Lee’s Summit.”  – Ron Baker, CEO Saint Luke’s East – Lee’s Summit

 Lee’s Summit, Mo – April 5, 2017 – – Saint Luke’s East CEO and LSEDC Board Member Ron Baker hosted members of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council for a spotlight on the growth of their business yesterday afternoon. Close to fifty business and community leaders were in attendance to hear the highlights of growth and expansion over the last eleven years.

Constructed in 2006, Saint Luke’s East (SLE) Hospital opened as a 52 bed facility with approximately 125 employees and 194 physicians. Today, Saint Luke’s East houses 203 inpatient beds, 713 physicians and over 1300 employees. The 40-acre campus is a full service, acute care facility which includes emergency, outpatient surgery with rehab and medical office building. In addition, the hospital now offers Comprehensive Oncology, Cardiovascular services, a Maternity Center with level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and state-of-the-art Breast Center with the region’s first ever 3-D mammogram. “The healthcare footprint Saint Luke’s East provides for this region is a major asset to the City of Lee’s Summit. Not only does it attribute to our workforce as a major employer, it brings people into our community to eat, shop and spend” said Rick McDowell, LSEDC President & CEO.

Saint Luke’s East hit a major milestone last year by expanding its medical group clinics at additional off-site locations such as Lee’s Summit, Independence and Blue Springs. They have also partnered with Hy-Vee to provide Convenient Care Clinics or “walk-in” clinics inside both locations in Lee’s Summit and one in Raytown. While Baker admits growth is good, he attributes their success to Saint Luke’s core missions and values. “As a member of Saint Luke’s Health System, we are committed to enhancing the physical, mental and spiritual health of the communities we serve.” Giving back is a big part of what we do. Every year we host a health festival that includes a variety of free services including health screenings and nutritional information. One of our biggest events is our annual Drive Thru Flu Clinic where cars line the parking lot for drive up service to free flu shots.

Customers and patients have ranked SLE No. 1 and No. 2 in the Kansas City Metropolitan area for more than three years. This level of patient satisfaction continues to set the standard for Ron and his team.

Leading Entrepreneur to LSEDC: Focus on Existing Resources

EyeVerify Founder Toby Rush encourages Lee’s Summit leaders to identify density and concentration of existing business assets at March Speaker Series luncheon  

Lee’s Summit, MO—March 10, 2017– Toby Rush, founder of biometric security company EyeVerify Inc., headlined the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council’s March Speaker Series luncheon. Comparing the family farm he grew up on in rural Kansas to the most simple “entrepreneurial ecosystem,” Rush shared how raising pigs in grade school and hiring friends to help him throw hay in high school helped lay the groundwork for his future career growing and selling tech companies.

“I didn’t see it as entrepreneurship at the time, but looking back, that’s exactly what it was. Understanding the resources and needs of the market in front of you, amassing those resources to solve a problem and then hoping everyone can make a little money out of that,” Rush said.

Rush founded biometric security company EyeVerify Inc. in 2012 and sold the company in 2016 for a reported $100 million to Ant Financial Group, the financial services arm of AliBaba Group. EyeVerify is headquartered in Kansas City’s Crossroads Arts District and plans to almost double its headcount from 50 to 90 employees by the end of the year.

Reflecting on the value of trusted mentors along his journey, Rush cited the success of his RFID technology company, Rush Tracking Systems. “We would go into companies like John Deere, Dairy Farmers of America, Smuckers and Chevron, and we kept winning deals. I kept being really surprised, and a trusted mentor said to me, ‘Toby, you’re going to realize you’re growing up when you quit being surprised that you’re winning.”

Rush also encouraged the group of successful and established Lee’s Summit business leaders to not be afraid to dream. “If we want to make a meaningful difference, sometimes we have to take a step back and dream like children. Invite more people into the conversation and not necessarily think about what resources do I have– or what background and collective knowledge do I have to solve this problem? So you can kind of literally become the victim of your own success.”

After his speech, LSEDC Board Member Todd Haynes asked Rush what it would take for EyeVerify to build a new headquarters in Lee’s Summit.

“The reason we are in the Crossroads is because that’s where the (tech and entrepreneurial) community is. Plain and simple, it’s easy for me to connect with lots of other entrepreneurs just by walking across the street or into a nearby business,” Rush said. “What makes the Crossroads successful is the density of entrepreneurs and resources, so I encourage Lee’s Summit to focus on where your resources (industry clusters and workforce) are concentrated.”

Market Center of Ideas Kicks off Velocity Event

The Lee’s Summit Market Center of Ideas was created to bring entrepreneurs in and around Lee’s Summit together to collaborate with one another, provide mentor-ship, educational programming and additional opportunities to support growth and success. The first program, called Velocity, featured a panel of entrepreneurs and local start-ups who shared their story and advice followed by networking. Check out the article from the Lee’s Summit Journal. (photos provided by Michael Moore Photography) – This program is just picking up speed. The next event will be a social hour on March 16th at Main Slice Pizza in downtown Lee’s Summit. For more information visit their Facebook page!



Statement regarding Diodes FabTech Inc.

The City of Lee’s Summit and the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council are not able to comment on Diodes FabTech’s plans for its local operation because the company has not officially notified either the City or LSEDC of an immediate decision to close.

The City of Lee’s Summit sympathizes with employees potentially affected by the social media rumored closing of Diodes FabTech. Its lease at Summit Technology Campus will expire in December of 2017.

Assistance with workforce issues is a core mission of the LSEDC, and LSEDC has contacts with local employers to identify potential opportunities for displaced workers and will share that information on its Facebook page when it becomes available. https://www.facebook.com/lsedc/

In 2016, the Lee’s Summit Fire Department responded to two separate structure fires at Diodes FabTech, which disrupted operations for Diodes FabTech as well as other tenants. The City assisted Diodes FabTech and building owner in safely reopening the damaged portion of the facility as quickly as possible.

The City and LSEDC do not interfere in private lease negotiations. However, the LSEDC does play a role in identifying relocation opportunities, and the City of Lee’s Summit will consider and provide economic incentives to attract or retain major employers to the city. In Diodes FabTech’s case, the LSEDC in 2016 identified two Lee’s Summit potential sites for future operations, but the company has not pursued either option. LSEDC continues to be available for any relocation discussions, if applicable to Diodes FabTech’s operations.

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