Missouri politicians – including Gov. Jay Nixon and Kansas City Mayor Sly James — were joined by more than 100 Burns & McDonnell employees in the engineering firm’s parking lot Thursday for a ceremonial groundbreaking of the company’s headquarter expansion.
The firm’s plans call for two building near its current Ward Parkway world headquarter site, adding an additional 450,000 square feet of office space.
Burns & McDonnell announced the expansion in February. On Thursday, Nixon and James praised the company for keeping high-paying jobs on the Missouri side of the state border rather than fleeing to Kansas.
The state contributed tax breaks that could top out at $8.5 million to the Burns & McDonell project. When the $109 million expansion is completed, there will be 4,700 employees.
Burns & McDonnell CEO Greg Graves says that with the larger headquarters, the company could hire as many as 2,100 new workers. The company reported record sales in 2013 of $2.3 billion. It attributes much of its growth in recent years to increased demand for pipelines and processing plants caused by the shale gas boom.