How did KC land on the Meta and Panasonic megaprojects? Infrastructure, energy and enthusiasm, companies say

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Kansas City is one of the most exciting and dynamic cities in America, Matt Sexton said, making it the perfect choice to build a nearly one million square foot data center for Meta, the tech giant behind Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

“There are plenty of sites across the country that might have one or two qualities that would lend themselves to this type of project, but KCMO really had it all with just about every desirable factor we were looking for,” said Sexton, a community development . manager with Meta.

“It had excellent infrastructure, access to renewable energy. We have amazing energy and economic development partners; there are so many of you in the room right now,” Sexton told an audience of nearly 2,000 people, including business and civic leaders, at the Kansas City Area Development Council annual meeting. “We have a world-class workforce here to build and ultimately operate a data center, and a high quality of life to attract and retain top talent here in Kansas City for the long term.”

Click on here to learn more about Meta’s upcoming $800 million data center in Kansas City.

Ora Reynolds, Hunt Midwest, and Tim Cowden, Kansas City Area Development Council, take the stage at the KCADC Annual Meeting; photo courtesy of KCADC

KCADC’s annual lunch, themed ‘Level Up’, celebrated a historic year for the region. In 2022, KCADC – which strives to relocate businesses and talent to the Kansas City area – and its partners in the region have attracted companies expected to invest more than $5.6 billion in capital investments, which which will result in a payroll of $354 million and nearly 6,000 jobs.

“It takes all of us to make the KC region better, and KCADC is doing its part to lead and contribute to its share of regional successes,” said Brian Roberts, KCADC Board Co-Chair and Chief Operating Officer. of the Midwest series at Lockton Companies. “The strategic investments that KCADC has made over decades to elevate our region’s business and lifestyle strengths not only benefit businesses considering our region, but provide support and return to businesses that are already here.”

The record year is six times the historic annual investment success of KCADC; it expands Kansas City’s strengths in manufacturing and distribution, animal health, technology and data centers, Roberts noted.

This year’s stats include two megaprojects: Meta’s $800 million hyperscale data center in Kansas City, Missouri, and Panasonic Energy of North America $4 billion EV battery factory in De Soto, Kansas.

“We chose the KC area because of the people [who] are there, your energy and your enthusiasm,” said Allan Swan, president of Panasonic.

Allan Swan, Panasonic, speaks at the KCADC Annual Meeting

Panasonic’s 309-acre plant is expected to manufacture 2170 lithium-ion batteries for Tesla, as well as develop batteries for various customers.

More than 4,000 people will be employed at Panasonic’s factory, Swan said – noting that the company will make its first 100 to 200 hires in the first six months of 2023. The factory is expected to start production in 2025.

“Eight hundred to a thousand [people] will be staff – mostly engineers, so chemical engineers, mechanical engineers,” Swan noted. “…Then there must be around 3,000 operators. And I don’t need anyone with a particular skill level. I just need energy and enthusiasm, and we’ll do all the training.

Katie Comer, Meta, speaks at the KCADC Annual Meeting

Meta, which announced its data center in March, moved 2 million cubic meters of earth and installed 42,000 linear feet of electrical cables and ducts. In November, the company plans to go vertical with steel, said Katie Comer, data center community development manager at Meta.

“Over the next few months, we will kick off a flurry of site activity – both on the Meta side and through our general contractor Turner Construction – as we hit our commercial numbers and continue to hire our operational jobs. to manage and operate the infrastructure based in this incredible facility,” Comer said. ” And that’s just the beginning. We see the sky as the limit here at KCMO.

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