2023 Keystone Awards Include Huge Range of Projects 
Keystone Awards

Projects ranging from massive logistics facilities to community coffee shops were among the public and private developments recognized at the EDC’s 2023 Keystone Awards Luncheon.

Below is a description of each project with photos of the work and the principals accepting their Keystone Awards: 

Hunt Midwest Business Center Logistics IV in Kansas City is a new, Class A industrial building just completed in this 2,500-acre industrial setting northeast of I-435 and Missouri Highway 210. The $30 million, 478,295-square-foot building will be home to UPS Supply Chain Solutions and a JE Dunn Construction office. 

The project is expected to create more than 200 well-paying jobs in Clay County. Soon every package handled by UPS in greater Kansas City will pass through the doors of Logistics IV. UPS has invested millions of dollars inside the facility for its high-tech sorting and distribution operations. 

The JE Dunn office will help facilitate additional private development at Hunt Midwest Business Center for years to come. The new building, in conjunction with infrastructure improvements connecting Northeast 48th Street and North Arlington Avenue, will open development of the final, 135-acre phase of Hunt Midwest Business Center.

Brinkmann Constructors was the general contractor on the project, with H2B Architects providing design services. The project engineer was Olsson, and financing was provided by UMB Bank.

Hunt Midwest Business Center, Logistics V is an approximately $20 million build-to-suit facility completed this year for St. Louis-based Community Wholesale Tire. One of the largest family owned and operated tire distributors in the Midwest, Wholesale Tire will fully occupy the 203,899-square-foot HMBC Logistics V. 

The move will increase and modernize the company’s distribution center footprint in Kansas City amid expansions throughout Missouri and Iowa. The company will relocate from its current facility outside Clay County, bringing with it an estimated 160 new jobs. 

Community Wholesale Tire announced its plan to lease the building before construction even began in early 2023. This new location gives CWT unparalleled access to multimodal transportation, a robust local labor force, and direct access to 120 other companies doing business at Hunt Midwest’s Automotive Alley. That location includes more than a dozen automotive suppliers and upfitters that work with one another and Ford’s 29-acre North American Vehicle Logistics Outbound Shipping facility just minutes from the Ford Claycomo plant. Along with the brand-new extension of 48th Street, the new facilities begin development of the final phase of Hunt Midwest Business Center.

The general contractor for this $20-million project was GPS-KC, while the architect was H2B Architects. Olsson was the project engineer, and UMB Bank provided the financing. 

In Kearney, Harmony Hill Animal Hospital opened its doors in 2023 after investing $371,000 in its tenant finish of a long-vacant retail space in the Shoppes at Kearney shopping center. 

The full-service small animal veterinary clinic offers a wide range of services. The owner’s goal is to hire the best possible employees to care for the animals they treat. 

All five employees are paid above the Clay County average income with full health benefits. 

The City of Kearney is honored to have another veterinary service as an option for its citizens and that Harmony Hill Animal Hospital chose the City of Kearney as its home. Harmony Hill Animal Hospital positively impacts our community by the care they provide for animals and the people they employ.

Hooker Construction was the general contractor, and the architect was Mantel Teter of Gladstone. 

Another new Kearney business is Starbucks, which joined Kearney’s list of national retailers when it opened its 2,225-square-foot building with a drive-through in the Shoppes at Kearney shopping center.

This location is at the southeast corner of busy 92 Highway and 1-35. The $9S0,000 investment provides the community with another option for a location to enjoy coffee with a friend or a place to meet for a quick business meeting, adding to the outstanding quality of life. The location is also key for the city as sales tax revenue is being captured from the interstate traveler, adding to Kearney’s tax base, a vital role of economic development.

This nearly $1-million project brought 15 new jobs.

Beggs Construction provided the site improvements and building shell, while Midwest Facilities & Construction LLC completed the interior finish. Klove Architects provided the overall design, and the project engineer was Wallace Design Collective.

Tractor Supply remodeling is also in Kearney is part of thelargest rural lifestyle retailer in the United States. During 2022, the company acquired 166 Orscheln Farm and Home stores. In 2023, the retailer invested $779,000 in the Kearney store, located at 901 Missouri Highway 92. 

The renovated store offers an updated shopping experience, including special order kiosks, mobile check-out and an expanded selection of national brands. This investment in the Kearney community is a significant economic development, and Kearney officials are grateful for the investment. The retention of 13 jobs was crucial in this transition. Additionally, Tractor Supply was able to add nine new jobs.

The general contractor for this work was Lakeview Construction, and the architect was Parkway Architects. 

In Liberty, Opus Development has built four huge buildings within two adjacent developments in Liberty.

Collaborating with the city of Liberty, Opus recently developed, designed, and constructed Liberty Heartland Logistics Center and Heartland Meadows Commerce Center. Totaling approximately 1.8 million square feet, these significant industrial developments include four buildings with potential for a fifth building. 

Liberty Heartland Logistics Center has three buildings. The largest was completed in February 2023 for Hallmark, allowing the company to expand operations in Liberty where it has operated for five decades. With the new building, Hallmark can increase its logistics footprint by 50% while introducing new capabilities and continuing to meet the changing needs of its customers. 

The second and third buildings are substantially complete and will address demand for light manufacturing, e-commerce and logistics operations in the area. Heartland Meadows Commerce Center was completed in 2021 and comprises one building, which is fully leased. Opus’s investment in Liberty will positively impact local businesses and the community for years to come.

Opus is the developer, design-builder, architect and structural engineer. Michael VanBuskirk, Mark Long, John Hassler and Scott Bluhm of Newmark Zimmer are marketing the buildings for lease. Their efforts represent a $168.5 million total investment and 945 new jobs.

US Motor Works chose Liberty for a new fulfillment center, allowing the company to strategically deliver its products in a timely fashion to a large part of the United States. 

The company’s new, 167,000-square-foot facility is in the Heartland Meadows Industrial Park. The $19.2-million project brings 50 new jobs. BCB Development was the general contractor.

US Motor Works currently operates in six North American facilities, with headquarters in Santa Fe Springs, California. Family-owned and operated since 1995, US Motor Works serves original equipment manufacturers, traditional automotive, heavy duty automotive and the performance aftermarket with five brands.

This summer, Pride Fitness opened in Pleasant Valley to provide a unique range of health and fitness services to the community.

Pride Fitness is a gym that helps people overcome their fears and insecurities about working out. Their memberships include personalized workout plans, small group personal training and group exercise classes. Their business model is based on providing high-quality coaching and encouraging consistency in a supportive and positive environment.

They also have a direct impact on helping to train young athletes and by providing opportunities for young people to work with and compete. Pride Fitness hosts events for high school athletes and aspiring young people to attain better physical skills, while providing a chance for exposure and experience in entrepreneurship. Many current interns have discovered their desire to start their own business, and they are being given a way to capitalize on their skills for a possible career path.

Pride Fitness has invested $1.6 million and brought 15 new jobs. The general contractor was Craig Porter, and the architect was Herman Design+Build. The project engineer was Kimley-Horn: Engineering Planning and Design Consultants.

The following honorees are Keystone Special Recognition recipients, public projects that represent significant investment that has a direct impact on Clay County’s quality of life.

The Hall of Waters in Excelsior Springs has undergone an extensive renovation. The effort was supported by an investment of over $1.6 million, including a critical contribution from the Save America’s Treasures Grant. This ambitious project is the first step in restoring and enhancing the Hall, preserving its architectural grandeur and cultural significance. 

The renovation began with the Hall of Springs, home to the longest water bar in the world and the City’s Visitors Center. The nearby well room, home to the original well for the Hall of Waters, has undergone significant shoring. This will allow the front yard to once again host events, revitalizing a key communal space. 

Once restored, the Hall is expected to attract a wide range of visitors, from history enthusiasts to cultural tourists, bolstering the local economy. Its unique architecture and historical significance will position it as a must-visit destination, enhancing Excelsior”s reputation as a center for heritage and culture. 

This $1.69-million project was 100 percent publicly funded. The general contractor was Pullman Construction. The architect was Strata, and the project engineer was SEA/IMEG. Financing was provided by the City of Excelsior Springs. 

The Gladstone Police Headquarters renovation and expansion has regional impact. 

This significant project is a $14-million investment funded by a half-cent general sales tax to improve police and fire facilities. This change was spurred by a citizen-based strategic planning group called Gladstone: Shaping Our Future, which evaluated and proposed improvements they believed were needed throughout the city. 

The renovation includes a 20,000-square-foot addition that provides crucial space for the growth and development of the police department. Notable improvements include a new evidence room, offices, exercise facilities, jail cells and a 911 Communications Center for the co-location of dispatch centers with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office and Liberty Police Department. 

This state-of-the-art facility was agreed upon by all three jurisdictions to modernize dispatch capabilities for a significant portion of the Northland. In addition to being cost-effective, co-locating also allows the agencies to rapidly exchange information and assist each other during times of crisis. 

This $14-million investment was funded 100 percent by the City of Gladstone. Turner Construction Company was the general contractor, and Hoefer Welker was the architect. 


One of the largest special recognition projects involves the 19th Street Interchange and Complete Street Project in Kearney.

The workincludes Kearney’s new Diverging Diamond interchange at Interstate 35 and 19th Street and construction of a complete street between Nation Road and Watson Drive. The project includes three new roundabouts located at Watson Drive, the future Sam Barr Drive and Nation Road that will support traffic as the area develops. 

The project also adds bike lanes, shared-use paths and sidewalks. The work also better connects the community that was divided by the interstate and allows for safer access to the school complex, local trails and businesses. It enhances local and regional connectivity, improves safety for the traveling public, promotes economic development and provides a beautiful new entry to the City of Kearney.

This effort cost $32 million and was 100 percent funded jointly by the City of Kearney and the Missouri Department of Transportation. Clarkson Construction Co. and LEXECO were the general contractors. The project engineer was Transystems.

The new Kearney Pickleball & Skate Park Complex is our next Keystone Special Recognition recipient.

This project resulted from the cooperation between the Kearney School District and the City of Kearney. The city owned a small parcel of land, which was home to their skate park and pickleball courts but were both beyond their useful life. The area was too small for Kearney’s growing leagues and recreational players. 

The Kearney School District transferred 4.16 acres of land to the City of Kearney, and they were able to construct the largest municipally owned pickle ball complex in the metropolitan area, meeting the needs for growing leagues and tournaments. 

This project was funded entirely by the revenue from the city’s use tax. The City of Kearney received the Innovation Award for mid-sized cities from the Missouri Municipal League.

Located on 19th Street, this $2.1-million project was publicly funded. McConnell & Associates was the general contractor, and Lamp Rynearson was the architect. Dan Miller was project engineer. Financing was provided by Clay County Savings Bank. 

The Kearney School District completed nearly $5 million in Improvement Projects this year. 

The work included remodeling projects at their Early Childhood Center, the high school, middle school and junior high school. The Kearney School District continues to make sustained investments in their schools. 

Kearney is known for its quality schools and the impact on the community is significant. 

Renovations in the high school were directed at the theater. The remodel added new seating and a state-of-the-art lighting and sound system. This upgrade will help provide outstanding experiences for theater, choir, band students and district-wide events, as well as improve the culture of the school for its students and audiences. 

The middle school added new restrooms to keep up with the growing district student population, and an investment was made in a repair project on the foundation at the junior high. 

The students of Kearney will benefit from each of these projects and that alone certainly makes an impact on the City of Kearney and Clay County as a whole.

This $4.71-million project was entirely funded by the school district. The general contractor was Newkirk Novak Construction, and the architect was the DLR Group. 

The Armour Road Complete Street Project in North Kansas City is another development with far-ranging impact.

The ultimate vision for Armour Road between Burlington and Ozark is a corridor that is safe, serves all users, incorporates sustainable measures, is visually appealing and economically vibrant.

The Armour Road Complete Street Project included the following improvements:

  • Bus stop islands at Gentry and Knox
  • Decorative crosswalks at Howell and Iron Streets
  • Pedestrian crossing between Macon and Ozark
  • Concrete bump-out islands
  • Green conflict zone markings
  • Mill and overlay resurfacing of Armour Road
  • Bike lane low concrete walls
  • ADA sidewalk improvements
  • Pedestrian refuge islands along Armour at three locations – at Gentry, near the Post Office and at Knox
  • Bike lanes between Fayette and Ozark
  • New parallel parking between Fayette and Knox
  • New landscaping beds along Armour Road

The general contractor was Gunter Construction, LLC, and the project engineer was WSP. The City of North Kansas City and the North Kansas City Road District funded this $2-million project.

The Chapel Hill Elementary School in the North Kansas City School District makes a good thing even better.

Built in 1961, Chapel Hill Elementary School in Gladstone saw a complete renovation and expansion in 2023. A new wing, gymnasium and façade, along with entry upgrades have turned this building into a state-of- the-art 21st-century learning environment for the 640 students who come to the school every day. 

Chapel Hill is one of three Blue Ribbon Schools in NKC Schools, an honor recognizing the top 1% of schools nationwide. The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program celebrates public and private elementary, middle and high schools based on their academic excellence or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. 

The Chapel Hill renovation and expansion is another example of the re-investment NKC Schools is making in older neighborhoods within the district. Since 2016, NKC Schools has spent nearly $500 million in improvements to almost every building in the system, creating equitable learning experiences for students regardless of where they reside.

This $9.6-million project was funded by the North Kansas City School District through voter-approved bonds. The general contractor was McCown Gordon, and the architect was HTK Architects. 

The Smithville Streetscape Phase II continues a big win for this community.

Smithville’s Downtown Streetscape Phase II stands out as a compelling nominee for the 2023 Keystone Special Recognition Award due to its substantial impact on the revitalization and economic prosperity of the community. The project started as a ballot issue authorized in April 2018 as a major step toward meeting the needs of the City of Smithville. 

This project significantly enhanced Main Street, from Commercial Street to Liberty Road. These improvements comprised new sidewalks, enhanced lighting, modified curbs, pavement overlays and stormwater upgrades, totaling 10,200 square yards of replaced asphalt street, among other features. 

These improvements transformed the downtown area into a vibrant, safe and appealing space, drawing visitors and stimulating additional business investments. The addition of a post-tension concrete basketball court in Heritage Park improved recreational options and elevated the downtown experience. Additionally, the project tackled persistent problems like flooding in the Bridge Street alley, showcasing a dedication to addressing community issues. 

This $1.17-million effort is on Main Street, from Commercial Street to Liberty Road and was funded completely by the City of Smithville. The general contractor was Sands Construction, and the project engineer was HDR. 

The Main Street Trail is another Smithville effort with regional impact.

This 1.3-mile multiuse trail connects downtown Smithville to Smith’s Fork Park, offering residents and visitors a unique connection between the community center and nearby Smithville Lake. 

This project also includes ADA ramps, storm sewer enhancements and curb improvements, reflecting a holistic approach to community enhancement. Leveraging funds from the 2019 RTP Grant and a total investment of over $1.4 million demonstrates the city’s dedication to progress and resource utilization efficiency. Beyond encouraging physical activity, the trail acts as a conduit, linking diverse areas and fostering social cohesion, community engagement and economic vibrancy. 

The work is already a success, with 2,593 users in just the first 60 days.

The project was funded by the city of Smithville and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Amino Brothers Construction was the general contractor, and the project engineer was HDR.

A special, Royal Award was presented to the Oxbow Apartments in Downtown North Kansas City.

The Oxbow is a best-in-class, 208-unit apartment project that represents a $54-million investment. The work created six positions related to managing and operating the apartments and up to 40 additional jobs through leasing the ground floor retail spaces. 

There’s another perspective as well. This imposing development in the vibrant NKC downtown features rooftop amenities and unmatched views of Kansas City’s skyline – views that one day may contain a new Royals Stadium in Clay County. Oxbow Apartments helps maintain and grow the unique North Kansas City business base by bringing more residents to downtown North Kansas City and illustrates the viability of the area as a new sign of regional growth. To stand in that location is to realize the dramatic development that occurred in North Kansas City and, in many ways, what we can look forward to in the future.

Centric Projects, LLC was the general contractor, and Rosemann & Associates was the architect. The project engineer was Olsson Inc., and the project was financed by Americo Financial Life & Annuity Insurance Company.

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