KC council OKs newspaper plan for new plant

Sunday, October 20, 2002

The Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Star has received unanimous City Council approval of its plan to build a new printing plant in the city's downtown.

The council's action rezones the property and grants a 10-year property tax abatement, which city officials have valued at around $12.8 million.

Council members praised the newspaper's $199 million investment in the city's core.

"It's a tremendous project," Councilman Jim Rowland said. "It's a sign of good public citizenship."

Demolition and site preparation could begin as early as January, said Arthur S. Brisbane, president and publisher of The Star. Production at the plant is expected to begin in early 2006.

The 430,000-square-foot press and distribution complex is planned for a two-block site northeast of the newspaper's offices. The glass-walled building will have a sloped roof, rising from four stories on the south end to the equivalent of eight stories on its north end, where the four huge presses will be located.

Brisbane said The Star had acquired 18 of the 20 properties on the site and hoped to conclude negotiations with the remaining owners without seeking condemnation.

Project costs are $10 million for land, $75 million for site work and construction, and the remainder for presses and other automated production equipment.

The Star is buying KBA Commander model presses from the German manufacturer Koenig & Bauer AG. The manufacturer has said the transaction, the amount of which was not disclosed, represented the largest U.S. sale in its history.

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