St. Louis-based McCarthy Building Companies had never operated an office in the Kansas City region. But that doesn’t mean that the commercial construction company hasn’t been active there. The company recently started construction on a high-profile project for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and another for the MARS chocolate company, both in the Kansas City region.
And these projects are far from rare. McCarthy construction crews have become common sights in the Kansas City region. In all, the company now boasts more than $1.4 billion worth of construction underway in the region.
This is why McCarthy earlier this spring finally opened a new office at 10601 Mission Road in Leawood, Kansas, right in the heart of the Kansas City area.
Scott Wittkop, central division president for McCarthy, said that the timing made sense for the new office.
“We’ve had our eye on Kansas City for a while,” Wittkop said. “We’ve picked up some pretty significant work in the region lately, so this seemed like the perfect time. We want to put our folks out there on the ground and see if we can’t gain an even stronger foothold in Kansas City.”
The Kansas City region holds a special place for Wittkop. His first construction project for McCarthy came 27 years ago in Kansas City, a residential redevelopment of historic buildings.
“I spent about two years in Kansas City with McCarthy. I enjoyed my time there,” Wittkop said. “I’ve always wanted to go back to Kansas City, so here we are.”
McCarthy is currently working on projects in Springfield, Joplin, Topeka and Manhattan, Kansas.
One of the company’s highest-profile projects in the region is the construction of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility in Manhattan, Kansas, for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
McCarthy, in conjunction with Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction, recently started work on an $80 million, 87,000-square-foot free-standing central utility plant that will house the primary heating and cooling systems for an adjacent laboratory. Construction of the utility plant will be complete in October of 2015, with construction of the lab scheduled to begin in 2014.
Another nearby prominent project is MARS Chocolate North America’s Project Sweetness, a $180 million, 550,000-square-foot food-grade production and manufacturing facility in Topeka. When finished in 2014, the 150-acre site will be home to seven structures, including production, administration and central utilities facilities; rail buildings; a guard house; and a wastewater treatment plant.
McCarthy’s Barry Sutherland has relocated to the area to lead the 3,500-square-foot Kansas City region office as its director. McCarthy’s Brad Schoen will serve as the office’s preconstruction director. The office opens with four full time McCarthy staff.
– Dan Rafter