Sobering news for Kansas City area

Jeff Fox
What's going on
Jeff Fox

I appreciate the attempt to put the best face on the sale of Cerner to Oracle, but mergers and acquisitions have real costs as well as theoretical benefits. 

Cerner is one of Kansas City’s two Fortune 500 companies and its largest private employer. Now it becomes a division of another company, and its big decisions will be made elsewhere. 

The same is true for Kansas City Southern, bought earlier this year by the Canadian Pacific – with the announced plan to make Kansas City the company’s U.S. headquarters. Before that it was Sprint, bought by T-Mobile but with the promise of Kansas City as a “second headquarters.” That’s not nothing, but it’s less than what we had. 

The Fortune 500 and Fortune 1,000 lists – the biggest public companies – are only rough metrics, but Kansas City for years has had fewer big-company headquarters than areas such as St. Louis, the Twin Cities and even Omaha. 

Headquarters cities just tend to do better. It helps to have top corporate leaders here for civic leadership. Who’s in the room for the big decisions matters a lot. 

Cerner grew rapidly for decades to become what it is. No doubt there are others in the metro area aiming for that same trajectory. Let’s hope so. 

Strong year for housing 

The strongest October in recent years has helped push metro area construction of single-family homes.  

Across eight counties, four on each side of the state line, builders took out 690 permits for single-family homes in October, according to the Home Builders Association of Greater Kansas City. That figure is 5,368 through the first 10 months of the year, already exceeding all of 2020. 

Eastern Jackson County alone has accounted for 22.2 percent of those permits this year, led by Lee’s Summit (593), Blue Springs (189), Grain Valley (109) and Independence (77). 

Home Builders Association figures also reflect the shift from apartments to houses. In 2014, 3,631 permits were issued for single-family homes and 3,246 for multi-family units. But the trend has been away from multifamily units, with just 658 so far this year.  

Jeff Fox is The Examiner’s editor. Reach him at jeff.fox@examiner.net. Follow him on Twitter at @FoxEJC.