Industrial X Missouri

Ford's commitment to Kansas City remains a strong one

Few industries are as important to the Midwest as the auto industry. That's something that the commercial real estate professionals working in Missouri understand. Every county in the state boasts at least one manufacturer that provides parts or equipment to U.S. auto giant Ford Motor Company.

[caption id="attachment_21325" align="aligncenter" width="570" caption="The Ford TRANSIT commercial van that will be manufactured in Kansas City."] Few industries are as important to the Midwest as the auto industry. That's something that the commercial real estate professionals working in Missouri understand. Every county in the state boasts at least one manufacturer that provides parts or equipment to U.S. auto giant Ford Motor Company.

Michigan's Adrian Steel, a manufacturer of commercial van and truck equipment, is the latest Ford supplier to expand in the state. In April, officials with Adrian Steel announced that the company will expand to Kansas City where it will install custom interiors for the new Ford TRANSIT commercial van that will be built at Ford's Kansas City Assembly Plant.

Adrian Steel will lease 11 acres for its new 32,000-square-foot facility at Kansas City's Hunt Midwest Business Center. The company will create 39 new jobs and invest $4.7 million in the new facility. The facility is expected to be ready for operations in September of 2013.

Bob Marcusse, president and chief executive officer of the Kansas City Area Development Council, told Midwest Real Estate News that the Ford TRANSIT production plant should bring several new suppliers to the Kansas City area.

"We have every expectation that the Adrian Steel announcement is one of several that will be coming in the future," Marcusse said.

The Kansas City Assembly Plant has long been a strong-performer for Ford, Marcusse said. Harbor & Associates, which ranks auto plants in terms of productivity, consistently places the Kansas City plant near the top of its list, Marcusse said. At the same time, the state of Missouri has provided Ford with economic incentives -- the same type of incentives the state would offer when trying to attract new manufacturers -- to convince it to keep the Kansas City production plant open.

For these reasons, it made financial sense for Ford to remain at the plant and devote part of its operations to manufacturing the new TRANSIT van, Marcusse said.

"The plant has a huge economic impact on the community," he said. "The auto industry as a whole has a huge impact on the entire state. The auto industry is an important and sustaining piece of our economy."

Different users will have different uses for Ford's TRANSIT vans. That's where Adrian Steel comes in. The company will take the basic van and modify it for specific customers. For instance, someone who purchases the van for a heating and air-conditioning business would have a different use for it than would someone who buys for a floral-delivery business.

The Kansas City Area Development Council to bring Adrian Steel to the city worked closely with partners such as the state, Missouri Partnership, the city of Kansas City, the Economic Development Council of Kansas City, Hunt Midwest Real Estate Development, CBRE, KC SmartPort and Missouri Gas Energy.