Friday, June 1, 2012

EPA's move out of KCK made official after court doesn't hear UG argument


The Federal District Court for Kansas will not hear the Unified Government's legal challenge of the General Services Administration's decision to move the EPA Region 7 headquarters out of Kansas City, Kan.

The decision by the court means the EPA's move to Lenexa, Kan., is all but official, as the UG has no other legal avenue to pursue.

With the court's decision, the county has now turned it's attention to recruiting new tenants for the building, located at 5th and Minnesota Avenue.

“New tenants and uses for the building will be found,” said Unified Government Mayor/CEO Joe Reardon.

Wyandotte County Economic Development Council President Greg Kindle said there's already been interest expressed from potential tenants and business partners.

“We have had strong interest in that facility from several potential new tenants and know that it will continue to be a hub for employment in the future,” said Greg Kindle, President of the Wyandotte County Economic Development Council. “While it’s unfortunate that the EPA employees who have called Wyandotte County home will be leaving our community, there are few buildings of this size and quality in the region, this vacancy provides us with an opportunity to attract a unique employer to the community.”

The building, owned by UrbanAmerica, was built in 1999 for the sole purpose of hosting the EPA.

After the move was announced, the UG contacted the White House about the decision and later filed a lawsuit against the GSA, alleging two Presidential Executive Orders were violated.

In the lawsuit, the county requested the Federal Court to cancel the deal in Lenexa and to restart the selection process for the EPA's home.

“I am discouraged the same agency that chose to waste $800,000 tax dollars on a GSA party in Las Vegas is now wasting even more tax dollars by abandoning downtown KCK and moving the EPA Headquarters to the suburbs,” Reardon said.

The move from KCK to Lenexa is expected to be wrapped up by this fall.