October 7, 2022

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City will relocate its headquarters to the 1400KC building, marking the culmination of an office evaluation the company began almost three years ago — and filling a new-build Class A tower that unexpectedly came available.
Blue KC announced Friday that it will lease the entire 18-story building at 1400 Baltimore Ave. The coming move solidifies the company’s place in the heart of Downtown and ends rampant speculation about who would fill the 260,000-square-foot space after Waddell & Reed Financial Inc. acquirer Macquarie Asset Management announced in March 2021 that it no longer would take occupancy.
“We have been a part of the Kansas City community for almost 85 years and are dedicated to being here for years to come,” Blue KC CEO Erin Stucky said in a release. “This move ensures we are best positioned to support our customers and members now and well into the future. We need a workplace that will evolve with us as we drive change to advance affordable access to health care and improve the health of our members. Our new location at 1400 Baltimore will enable us to do that.”
Founded in 1938 and the largest nonprofit health insurer in Missouri, Blue KC employs 1,400 people locally.
Since November 2019, Blue KC has explored office changes to help it meet collaboration needs, technology advances and workforce changes. The company weighed major renovations to its headquarters at One Pershing Square, which is about three-quarters of a mile south of 1400KC at 2301 Main St. Also on the table was a relocation to existing offices and a new building.
Blue KC landed on 1400KC after careful consideration of all factors, including cost, and the $140 million building’s “serendipitous availability” after Macquarie forfeited the space.
The 18-story building will allow Blue KC to consolidate all on-site employees into one location, with 10 levels of parking for workers and guests, and the chance to customize floorplans and outdoor spaces on every floor. Its other amenities will include state-of-the-art technological advancements, an improved fitness center, access to on-site dining and numerous restaurants within walking distance, Blue KC’s release says.
The insurer signed a 15-year lease assignment and assumption agreement. The building had been listed for sublease from Macquarie. 1400KC represents an office expansion for Blue KC, which presently occupies close to 180,000 square feet at 2301 Main and approximately 60,000 square feet across the street at Two Pershing Square, 2300 Main St.
Blue KC’s 260,000-square-foot deal easily becomes Downtown’s biggest new office lease in years, since the pandemic’s onset. The nonprofit’s plans to fully, rather than partially, occupy 1400KC also hold ramifications for other large speculative office projects, which still await preleasing beyond a certain space threshold before they break ground.
“The full lease-up of a trophy building like 1400 Baltimore exemplifies the current and ensuing trend of employers looking to upgrade the atmosphere for office workers,” said Bob Fagan, a senior vice president in CBRE’s Kansas City office who represented 1400KC alongside the firm’s Matt Eckert. “These investments can only yield higher levels of in-office attendance, collaboration and employee satisfaction.”
1400KC was completed in the spring by a joint venture between Americo Life Inc. — the building’s owner — and Burns & McDonnell. Kansas City on Wednesday issued a commercial certificate of occupancy for the building.
“Blue KC has been a part of our community for generations, and I appreciate the company’s commitment to downtown Kansas City,” Mayor Quinton Lucas said in the release. “I look forward to their continued growth in the heart of our region. I’m grateful to Blue KC for investing in our vibrant Downtown, bringing hundreds to our restaurants and shops each day, and providing infrastructure support for events and festivals in the Downtown Loop. It’s partnerships like this that continue to make Kansas City a great place to live.”
Blue KC targets completion of its interior buildout and relocation by early 2025.
The insurer has not yet shared future plans for its 2301 Main offices, which it acquired for $22.5 million in 2003. Blue KC bought almost 5 acres of adjacent surface parking from Union Station in late June, a move it said would provide “more flexibility” as it considers future real estate options.
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