Field office expected to open in fall of 2023
On Tuesday, May 17, the Federal Bureau of Investigation hosted an official groundbreaking ceremony at 11180 NW Prairie View Road to mark the start of construction of its new home for the FBI’s Kansas City Field Office.
Over the next 20 years, the government agency will spend $102 million leasing the new facility located along the KCI Corridor.
For a quarter of a century, the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Main Field Office has been located in downtown Kansas City at 1300 Summit St., near Mulkey Square Park. But that will change come fall of 2023.
The U.S. General Services Administration signed a lease agreement procuring a parcel of land in the interest of the FBI that is approximately 14.3 acres of land along Northwest Prairie View Road, just west of Interstate 29 at NW 112th Street. The site along the KCI Corridor will serve as the FBI’s new Kansas City Field Office, where a majority of employees and Task Force Officers will serve for years to come.
The lease is with US Federal Properties, a real estate firm headquartered out of Kansas City, that leases to the U.S. federal government and its agencies. The new property is 136,910 square feet of office space for a term of 20 years with an option to extend.
“When this project was first made public, we knew it was something we wanted to be a part of and we also knew it was an opportunity to showcase the talent this city has to offer, so we are really proud to call this a true hometown project,” said Jason Hobick, vice president of development for US Federal Properties.
Deputy Commissioner Allison Azevedo, Public Buildings Service, U.S. General Services Administration, said: “For GSA, we celebrate meeting our mission and the close partnership we have between this important agency and fulfilling our mission in supporting what they do. We have a responsibility to ensure that federal agencies have the facilities they need to achieve their mission in the most effective and efficient manner possible.”
Azevedo added that more than 90 percent of the federal dollars devoted to the public building service will directly benefit local construction businesses and maintenance contractors.
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who recently visited Washington, took to the podium to recognize Pete Fullerton with the Kansas City Aviation Department and City Councilwoman Teresa Loar for their role in promoting the site as the most suitable location for the FBI’s new division headquarters.
“Over recent days I’ve had the opportunity to visit with the Attorney General of the United States, the president, and others. In many of those conversations, the main topic has been cooperation. How we, at the local level, cooperate with our state and federal partners. This is just such an example. Working with GSA, the FBI, Department of Justice, local government, our aviation department, our city planning department, which is perhaps the most difficult of all,” said Lucas. “And so many others. We have seen that if we can build a project, it can be the pride of not just this region but throughout the nation. People can see the facility is built here, the efficiency at which it will be constructed, and know that projects can be done and done well in Kansas City.”
Lucas acknowledged the service of all the FBI employees and Task Force officers, adding, “We will with pride drive by this facility knowing about the mission you fulfill on behalf of the people in western Missouri, Kansas, and throughout our entire country.”
Larissa Knapp, acting associate deputy director of the FBI, said the new facility will accommodate the health and wellness of its team members, feature many collaborative spaces, and ensure a strong sense of security.
“The Kansas City Office will not only have a gym, but it will also have an outdoor sports court, a fitness area, and a yoga space so our employees can actually blow off some steam and recharge their batteries, which is important to maintaining their mission. Shaded by trees, the central courtyard will also feature an amphitheater, a coffee patio, and places for presentations,” she added.
“This new field office is going to be an amazing place to work, and the folks here deserve nothing less,” said Knapp.
Another advantage of moving to the KCI corridor is the benefit of having more people in-house, which improves internal communication. The FBI has more than a 300-person workforce throughout the Kansas City Division territory. Now, a majority of all FBI employees within the KC metropolitan area will be under one roof.
“The new facility will allow the FBI Kansas City to modernize and streamline space usage, resulting in a more efficient operation for the FBI’s increasing mission demands,” said Bridget Patton, public affairs specialist for the FBI.
In addition to its main office in Kansas City, the FBI has eight satellite offices including: Joplin, Jefferson City, St. Joseph, Springfield, Garden City, Manhattan, Topeka, and Wichita.
When the FBI laid roots in Kansas City in the early 1900s, agents tracked down bank robbers and sought fugitives, like Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. The threatening era of bank robbers and gangsters was instantly taken more seriously by the Kansas City Massacre in June of 1933 when Charles Pretty Boy Floyd, Vernon Miller, and Adam Richetti attempted to free bank robber Frank Nash, who was being transported to the US Penitentiary. Raymond Caffrey, a Kansas City special agent, was one of four officers killed when gunfire erupted outside of Union Train Station.
Special Agent in Charge Charles Dayoub, with the Kansas City Field Office, FBI, said the massacre was a turning point for the FBI.
“That event drastically changed the FBI. It ingrained its history right here in Kansas City and led to codifying FBI authority to make arrests and carry firearms in federal law.”
Between 1940 and 1960, the FBI focused on large-scale thefts, kidnapping, extortion, and capturing fugitives like Glen Wright, a former member of the notorious Karpis-Barker gang. They knew they needed the public’s assistance in tracking down some of the most dangerous criminals and launched the Ten Most Wanted Fugitives program. During a 10-year period, Kansas City agents captured Franklin Alltop, Henry Young, Duane Pope, Ralph Owen, Robert Van Lewing, and Clyde Laws.
From 1960 to 1969, the FBI’s workforce grew from 73 agents to 121 agents and 43 support personnel to 71 support personnel. Once organized crime cases began to surge, agents pursued mobsters and mob bosses that controlled it, including Nicholas Civella. The prominent leader was convicted on illegal gambling charges and sent to prison. A wiretap recording between Civella and his bookie during Super Bowl IV was enough evidence to convict him.
During the 1980s and 1990s, local agents continued to investigate mob families and drug gangs. Frequently wiretaps were used to prove material facts in large-scale conspiracies. Faced with an influx of white-collar crimes, vehicle thefts, and public corruption, agents attuned their casework to investigate and solve these kinds of cases.
Throughout the FBI’s century-long history in Kansas City, agents have investigated and helped solve many notable cases including, Khalid Ouazzani, who swore allegiance to Al Qaeda, and Dennis Rader, also known as the BTK Killer.
Unlike a century ago, when FBI agents investigated violations of the White Slave Trade Act, also called the Mann Act, and Selective Service Act, today’s investigative programs are much more expansive and have adapted to a broad range of categories.
In recent years, the FBI’s investigative programs include terrorism, counterintelligence, cybercrimes, public corruption, civil rights, organized crime, white-collar crime, and violent crime.
“It has been 25 years since we broke ground on the office we currently occupy,” said Dayoub. “The years have passed, and the FBI has changed to become vastly operational as technology has advanced. We now no longer conduct our mission and service in a building of the 20th century. So, as we embark on the next quarter of a century, we hope to leave this legacy with future generations of the FBI, especially right here in Kansas City.”
The FBI plans to take occupancy along the KCI corridor in the fall of 2023.