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Bannister Federal Complex
Kansas City, Missouri
Old KC Plant (9457961965).jpg
Kansas City Plant
Coordinates 38°57′29″N 94°34′08″W / 38.958°N 94.569°W / 38.958; -94.569
Site information
Controlled by Department of Energy (NNSA)
General Services Administration
Site history
Built 1942
In use 1942 – present
Garrison information
Occupants NNSA, operated by Honeywell
GSA Regional Headquarters
United States Marine Corps
Department of Veterans Affairs
Department of Commerce
Department of Agriculture (USDA)

The Bannister Federal Complex is a United States federal government complex at 1500 E. Bannister Road in Kansas City, Missouri. The 310-acre (125.5 ha) complex consists of 10 buildings at the corner of Troost Avenue and Bannister Road. The complex is occupied primarily by the General Services Administration and the Department of Energy. As of 2012 it was slated for closure by 2014.

The largest component, the Kansas City Plant, produces and assembles 85% of the non-nuclear components of the United States nuclear bomb arsenal. The GSA has announced plans to relocate the Kansas City Plant to land adjacent to the former Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base beginning in 2011. This complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.

Site history

Kansas City Speedway

The site of the current Bannister Federal Complex was originally home to the Kansas City Speedway, not to be confused with the modern Kansas Speedway. Jack Prince and Art Pillsbury (who also built several such tracks including the Beverly Hills Speedway) built the track in 1922 at a cost of $500,000. The 1.25 mile wood oval track had high banked turns, two grandstands, and parking for 20,000 automobiles, including 5,000 in the infield. The racetrack itself was located near what is now 95th and Troost, and the main entrance was located at 94th and Holmes Rd.

The first race was scheduled for September 16, 1922, but rain delayed the race until the following day. More than 50,000 people attended the first of only four auto races that would ever be held at the Kansas City Speedway, which also hosted motorcycle racing. Notable attendees at the first race included the Mayor of Kansas City, Missouri Governor Arthur Hyde, and great race car drivers, including Ray Harroun, and Barney Oldfield. Seventeen drivers participated in the first race, including Tommy Milton, Leon Duray, Tony Gulotta, and Cliff Durant. The race was won by Tommy Milton, who was also the first driver to win the Indianapolis 500 twice. The first race also saw the only fatality at the track when the race claimed the life of 27-year-old Roscoe Sarles who collided with Pete Depaola on the 110th lap. The average speed for the first race was 107 mph, which was significantly faster than Indianapolis 500 races of that time. In fact, the average speed at Indianapolis did not exceed 100 mph until 1925.

In 1924, the last race, a 250-mile event, was stopped after about 150 miles because large holes had appeared in the wood track. The nearby Blue River caused the untreated lumber used in constructing the track to warp. Jimmy Murphy won the fourth and final auto race on July 4, 1924. The speedway was sold on March 24, 1925, for only $97,500.

World War II

On July 4, 1942, following the World War II attack on Pearl Harbor, then-Senator (later President) Harry S. Truman broke ground on the site for construction of a large facility that became home to Pratt and Whitney. The famous Double Wasp airplane engines were manufactured for the Navy at the facility through the duration of the war effort. Following the victory in Japan, the facility was closed and remained vacant until 1947.

A Department of Defense landfill was established in 1942 on a portion of the area, as a disposal site for the Bannister Federal Complex. From 1942 to 1964, when the landfill was closed, several government contractors, including Pratt and Whitney and Westinghouse, disposed of waste in the landfill. Disposal activities at the landfill resulted in contamination to soil and groundwater by solvents, metals and petroleum contaminants.


In 1947, the Internal Revenue Service moved facilities onto the site, and in 1949 the largest portion of the plant was leased to a division of Westinghouse Electric Corporation. The plant again began producing aircraft engines, this time jet engines for the McDonnell F2H Banshee naval fighter jet, and others to be used in the Korean War. At that time, the Fairfax Storage Company also began using part of the complex as a warehouse for tires, raw rubber, sugar, and lumber. Westinghouse also subleased part of the plant to Bendix beginning in 1949, which later became Allied Signal. Bendix began operating the facility for the Atomic Energy Commission and building nonnuclear components for nuclear weapons. This portion of the complex became known as the Kansas City Plant. The Kansas City Plant occupied the greatest portion of the complex, and in 1958 Westinghouse moved out and Bendix expanded operations at the Kansas City Plant.

Current usage

The Kansas City Plant portion of the Bannister Federal Complex, which is operated and managed by Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies, LLC for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), continues to provide high-tech production services to government agencies. As one of the most secure production facilities in the country, the plant produces nonnuclear mechanical, electronic and engineered material components for U.S. national defense systems, such as high-energy laser ignition systems, microwave hybrid microcircuit production, and miniature electromechanical devices. The plant also provides technical services such as metallurgical/mechanical analysis, analytical chemistry, environmental testing, nondestructive testing, computer-based training, simulations and analysis, and technical certification. The nonnuclear components produced at the Kansas City Plant comprise 85 percent of the parts manufactured within the nuclear weapons complex, as well as 85 percent of the components that constitute a nuclear weapon. The Kansas City Plant is the NNSA's highest rated production facility As of fiscal year 2007, the Kansas City Plant had 2,711 employees. Gross operating cost for KCP in FY07 was $501 million.

The Internal Revenue Service once occupied 474,000 square feet (44,000 m2) in two buildings of the complex, but the IRS moved into a new facility near Union Station in October 2006, taking about 2,500 jobs out of the Bannister complex. The National Archives and Records Administration, which occupied 153,000 square feet (14,200 m2) of space at the complex, began operating in a new location, also near Union Station on Memorial Day 2009. The Defense Finance and Accounting Service has also been removed from the complex, leaving about 300,000 square feet (30,000 m2) vacant.

The GSA still employs nearly 800 people in the western portion of the complex, which serves as the headquarters to the GSA's Heartland Region.

Site future

In February 2012, the GSA announced plans to remove all remaining federal employees from the site by 2014. More than 1,000 employees will be relocated to an as yet undetermined location in downtown Kansas City. The move coincides with plans by the NNSA to also vacate the Bannister complex by 2014. GSA officials are said to be seeking a buyer for redevelopment of the property, a task that may be complicated by multiple Superfund sites on the property.

  • Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) No. MO-118, "Pratt & Whitney Plant, 1500 & 2000 East Bannister Road, Kansas City, Jackson County, MO", 43 data pages
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