BNIM to Abandon Headquarters Project

BNIM to Abandon Headquarters Project

FEBRUARY 4, 2016


For more information contact: Jon D Stephens, Media Consultant at [email protected] | 816.547.7904

Previously Announced Project Would Have Been Transformative For City 

Founded in Kansas City 45 years ago, BNIM has always sought to invest in, and improve the community that has provided us with the environment to thrive. Delivering beautiful integrated environments that inspire change and enhance the human condition is our Core Purpose. 

We have grown from a small firm of four employees, into a global firm with more than 150 professional employees in four offices, and three additional incubating offices. In fact, over the last year alone we have experienced unprecedented project growth of 50%. Kansas City has always been our home, and we proudly import revenue and provide jobs as a result of 83% of our work being performed outside of Kansas City.

It is upon this principle, and our commitment to KC that we announced our ambitious headquarters project at 1640 Baltimore with Sobel Development Corporation. It would have been a generational project, bringing the most innovative design ideas to life right here in KC. In addition to being the headquarters for our growing firm, it would have served as a global laboratory for quality sustainable design, building on the momentum of the Smart City initiative. It would divert millions of gallons of run-off from our already stressed wastewater system.  It would add public green space, community meeting space, new sidewalk retail and, most importantly, serve as a catalyst for more high-quality development throughout the Crossroads, the central business district and the urban core—and finish what was started over twenty years ago with BNIM as master planner working with the Crossroads Community.

We believed that a project like this was beneficial to the entire city, and worthy of a fair level of private-public partnership. We worked diligently with city officials and community leaders to strike a balance that would benefit all. However, we did not anticipate our project becoming a lightning rod in a much larger incentives fight. In spite of a willingness on our part to make multiple revisions to the proposal, including one that would add millions to the KC public school system, petitioners were unwilling to compromise.

It is not beneficial to our company, or its employees, to engage in a contentious fight over the role of development incentives in building and improving our city. Ultimately, we know that we all share the same goals; to make KC the best place to live, work, create, and grow.  We have a proud history of contributing to all parts of Kansas City -- East to West, South to North -- to help make the lives of our fellow citizens better regardless of economic ability or cultural heritage.

Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that we announce that we will be withdrawing our project proposal effective immediately. We believe the economic development incentives process should be collaborative and supportive, and weigh the values and interests of our community. It should not be a process crafted by multiple petition initiatives that only discourage positive and planned development. 

We trust that the City Council will continue to evaluate the incentive framework and make any necessary changes in order to generate continued growth in our city by investing in the type of projects that add value, while supporting services for our fellow citizens.

BNIM is committed to Kansas City, our city, today and in the future. However, with our lease expiring at our current temporary headquarters, we must immediately begin the process of identifying interim and permanent office space within the metro KC area. With our recent growth and planned projects set to increase by 50% in the near future, we will also begin the process of shifting some future growth to our offices in other cities until such time as we have an office plan in the KC metro.

Project Rendering Download - “View of 1640 Baltimore Proposal Highlighting Public Features and Green Space”


About BNIM
BNIM is one of the most important design firms working to redefine practice and building performance in architecture today. As early pioneers of sustainability in the building industry, BNIM continues to shape the national and global design conversation on design excellence and delivering transformational results for clients. The firm received the 2011 AIA National Architecture Firm Award for their work. Established in 1970, the firm has emerged as a leading resource for out-of-the-box methodologies, innovative technologies and cutting-edge research in the fields of architecture, planning, landscape, education and workplace design. The firm has offices in Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles, Calif.; San Diego, Calif.; and Des Moines, Iowa; and is incubating offices in Washington, DC; Houston, Texas; and Madison, Wis. For more information visit