In 2019, Burns & McDonnell joined in the ongoing revitalization of Kansas City’s downtown when it began a design-build project for the all-new, 18-story 1400 KC office tower. Located on a 1-acre site near the intersection of 14th Street and Baltimore Avenue, construction needed to be carefully coordinated to minimize congestion in the heavily developed urban heart of Kansas City. Another design challenge for this Class A office facility was incorporating enough parking for a projected workforce occupancy of 1,000.
The upper nine floors of the office tower have been designed for maximum flexibility and functionality throughout their combined 260,000-square-foot floor plan. Featuring balconies, a rooftop terrace garden, multipurpose training and conference center, a full-service café and other unique elements, the office portion of the project was designed to accommodate a variety of technology requirements and collaboration needs.
With downtown parking at a premium, the lower section of the building was designed with 900 parking spaces. This cleverly designed parking facility is split into three distinct sections: below grade, the plinth at an urban garden, and an upper level shielded behind the primary building façade. At the conclusion of traditional weekday working hours, the parking facility is available for public parking on evenings and weekends.
The exterior design is as innovative as the interior space, with particular attention paid to sustainability, aesthetics and energy efficiency. The base of the structure is wrapped in angled black aluminum tubes and the upper façade features white metal panels, interspersed with expansive glass windows. The overall design aesthetic serves as a marked contrast to the traditional stone and brick exteriors of surrounding structures.
The main entry for the building at 14th and Baltimore opens up to an urban shade garden filled with selected works of art, serving as a welcoming front door into the facility. The garden stretches along 14th Street and connects pedestrians with the nearby Kansas City Convention Center and the Power & Light District.
Construction was completed in April 2022, ahead of schedule and under budget. Shortly after completion, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City (Blue KC) announced that it had signed a lease agreement to occupy the entire facility as its new headquarters. Blue KC had been exploring options for a new headquarters location that would allow it to consolidate its workforce in a single location and provide the flexibility for future growth and the functionality needed by its workforce.
Now complete, the 1400 KC building sets a standard that reaches beyond traditional commercial office space. With a lush shade garden and many other high-design features, it serves as a bucolic contrast to typical urban environments, reflecting the twin priorities of people and nature. The overall result is a new landmark facility positioned to serve as a major focal point for an increasingly vibrant downtown Kansas City.