Photo courtesy of the Gardner Chamber

Lynne Hermansen
Johnson County Airport Commission and Governor Laura Kelly celebrated the groundbreaking for the New Century Commerce Center on Tuesday, May 17. The project is estimated to bring over 4,700 jobs for 10 years in an area of approximately 850 acres north and east of runways.
VanTrust Real Estate is the master developer with CBRE as the leasing partner.
The construction and design team are Brinkmann Construction, Olsson for civil engineering and architect firm GBA.
The construction is for approximately $15 million in public infrastructure that includes improving streets, water, storm water, streetlights, wastewater and dry utilities.
Two speculative buildings are part of the first phase. The buildings will total over one million square feet at the southwest corner of 159th Street and 56 Highway.
The buildings will be completed by spring 2023.
Building A will be 333,365 square feet on 22 acres and Building B1 will be 752,400 square feet on 50 acres.
“We are excited to be a part of this impactful development and are encouraged by the level of interest being shown by the market,” Justin Duff, senior director of real estate development at VanTrust, said.
The project was rezoned and approved by the Johnson County Board of Commissioners in January.
Completion of the project will include warehouse and distribution facilities for a total of 7,168,350 square feet and aviation facilities for 601,500 square feet with two outdoor storage areas.
The New Century AirCenter and Commerce Center have more than 60 multi-national companies and 5,000 private-sector employees.
New, public street access points are also included at 159th Street, Clare Road and Old 56 Highway. The County’s Master Development Agreement shows in exchange of the issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds and a tax abatement for the project the developer will make payments in lieu of taxes known as PILOT. The Pilot program would require the developer to pay 30 cents per square foot of building per year with a 1.5 percent increase each year.
The New Century AirCenter is the former Olathe Naval Air Station that was purchased in January 1942 for $72,343 from the County at the start of WWII. The Johnson County Airport Commission purchased the Naval Station in 1973 and renamed it New Century Air Center in 1994. The New Century AirCenter is one of two airports owned and operated by the Johnson County Airport Commission. It is the third busiest airport in the State of Kansas with more than 2,500 acres. The Business Park has a short line railroad with more than six miles of track providing on-call rail service to the BSNF transcontinental mainline.