Based on employment projections for Jackson County by the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) and Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), and manipulations by Saint Louis University, Lee’s Summit jobs should increase by 24,200 (25%) over the 2020 job number of 95,471 to 119,671 jobs in 2040.
Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
Projections estimate 4,880 net new jobs in the professional, scientific and technical services sector in Lee’s Summit between 2020 and 2040. Extrapolation of metropolitan Kansas City projections for this sector suggests that there could be as many as 27,860 additional jobs in this sector. Lee’s Summit would capture 17.5% of this metropolitan-wide growth.
Many people employed in this sector currently reside in Lee’s Summit. Mixed-use employment centers would help keep more of this labor force In Lee’s Summit, potentially capturing 30% of this sector. This would add 8,300 more jobs where the average salary in 2018 in the Kansas City metro area was $74,600, according to MERIC. That many more jobs would also require the addition of more than two million square feet of office, research, and lab space.
Lee’s Summit could capture about one of every three additional health care jobs in the metro area. This would solidify Lee’s Summit as a dominant center for the health care industry, services to the public and research. This also likely means that Lee’s Summit will have to enable major health care providers to develop and expand facilities. Creation of prominent medical center “villages” in the city could change much of the image of this sector and make health care more accessible to the public in mixed-use projects that include lodging, dining, office space and relatively dense residential options. Combining this growth sector with the professional services sector would establish Lee’s Summit as a formidable suburban-based and economically diverse city.
Retail, Dining and Lodging
These are challenging sectors for the coming decade. Affected by rapidly changing technologies and by concerns about public health where people gather for shopping and entertainment, it is challenging to project future configurations and operational structures of stores, restaurants and hotels.
This need not prevent Lee’s Summit from encouraging cutting-edge innovation in such commercial ventures. The city has ample retail and related centers, some of very large scale, that may be suitable for substantial redevelopment or repurposing for rapidly changing consumer-oriented places. Indoor malls are effectively a thing of the past and big box stores are heading that direction, though some are adapting quickly to more experiential shopping and to a variety of technological and product delivery advances.
As a result, jobs may not grow in these sectors as rapidly as in the past. National and regional employment projections seem to already downplay such opportunities. Consumer demand, however, will likely not abate over time; much of it may seek safer, more convenient, faster and more entertaining ways to obtain goods, services and overnight accommodations. Enabling entrepreneurs in these sectors to innovate could put Lee’s Summit in a position as a leader in finding solutions to those challenges that need to be addressed in the 2020s. This may require less restrictive zoning and related ordinances and adjustment of building codes to allow more innovative uses of buildings, outside spaces and even air rights. Innovations might also require substantial changes in street patterns, delivery areas and parking. Such experimentation, if the businesses in these sectors pursue them, are best tested in growing, higher-income markets, like Lee’s Summit if modernization and sustainable development models are encouraged.
Market Analysis – Supply versus Demand
- Esri’s “Retail MarketPlace Profiles” quantify and compare:
- Local annual purchasing power for retail goods and for dining out.
- Local annual sales of merchants in these categories.
- Where purchasing power (“demand”) exceeds sales (“supply”)
- There is room for additional merchants, or at least for more sales.
- Where sales exceed purchasing power.
- There is little justification to attract more merchants other than to replace others.
The Overall Retail Picture
According to dollar figures from ESRI, last updated in 2017, Lee’s Summit’s residents spend just over $1.5 billion annually on retail purchases. This compares to the $1.4 billion in sales captured in Lee’s Summit, suggesting that residents resort to making some retail purchases outside of the city.
The opposite is true regarding food and drink purchases. Lee’s Summit residents account for only 79 percent of food and drink sales in the city, or approximately $167 million. This suggests that approximately 21 percent of Lee’s Summit food and drink sales are captured by non-residents.
Overall, the retail and food and drink demand (or purchase power) of Lee’s Summit residents exceeds sales by only four percent as a total. Any ‘leaked dollars’ – or resident purchases outside of Lee’s Summit – are replaced by non-resident purchases.
Broadly speaking, Lee’s Summit has a balanced amount of retail and dining space in the city.
The graph shows “demand” as the amount of “retail” and “food & drink” purchases that Lee’s Summit’s residents make in a single year (in this case, 2017*) regardless of where those purchases are made.
The “sales” represent sales in retail and food and drink establishments located in the City of Lee’s Summit regardless of the purchasers.
While Lee’s Summit residents spend some of their retail and dining dollars outside of the city, nonresidents also make purchases in Lee’s Summit. This graph suggests that “leaked dollars” by Lee’s Summit residents are effectively replaced by non-resident spending in the city.
Still, there are opportunities for more growth in some categories.
Sectors that are Over-Supplied
Despite the overall balanced supply and demand picture of Lee’s Summit residents, there are several sectors that are either over- or undersupplied. Figures indicate that Lee’s Summit serves as a regional draw for automobile dealers, grocery stores, specialty food services and dining as sales in these sectors exceed resident demand.
Esri lists 13 “3-digit” retail sectors (using NAICS) and, within them, 27 “4-digit” sectors. On this graph are shown those sectors, or categories, where sales in Lee’s Summit exceed the purchasing power of Lee’s Summit residents.
For instance, auto dealers in Lee’s Summit have annual sales of $406.9 million. But Lee’s Summit residents spend only $260.0 million for autos.
Therefore, almost $150 million in auto sales are taking place in Lee’s Summit by outsiders. In fact, it is more than that because some Lee’s Summit residents purchase autos from other cities. Lee’s Summit appears to be something of a regional auto dealer, grocery, and dining concentration.
Sectors that are Under-Supplied
Several retail sectors are under-supplied, where purchasing power of residents exceeds actual sales by Lee’s Summit merchants. These undersupplied sectors suggest areas of growth opportunity for Lee’s Summit either in more stores or more square feet of retail space. The biggest sector where demand exceeds supply is general merchandise stores. The 2017 figures depict that almost $93 million in local buying power for this sector is being satisfied outside of Lee’s Summit – perhaps in neighboring communities or in online purchases.
This graph depicts several of the other categories where purchasing power by Lee’s Summit residents exceeds actual sales by Lee’s Summit merchants. Theoretically, these represent categories or sectors where more stores, or more square feet, or at least more sales could be accommodated.
Most of these are “3-digit” sectors; their “4-digit” detailed sectors are not shown if all of those subsectors also show that demand exceeds supply. One obvious exception is the bottom category, Dining Places – Alcoholic Beverages. Purchases by Lee’s Summit residents total about $5.1 million per year, but sales within the city are only about $3.3 million.
But there are two other “4-digit” food & drink subcategories in this” 3-digit” sector. Those two are on the previous graph: specialty food services and restaurants/other eating places. That is, this overall category (NAICS code 722), where local sales generally exceed local purchasing power, has one sub-category where the opposite is true.
The biggest sector where demand exceeds supply is general merchandise stores. Buying power in Lee’s Summit is $290.0 million, but sales are $197.2 million. About $93 million in local buying power, therefore, is being satisfied elsewhere—maybe in Independence or Blue Springs.
A general conclusion is that retail sales and purchasing power, in general, are well-balanced in Lee’s Summit. But there are sectors where Lee’s Summit could attract more square feet. Given the strong retail opportunities along, say, the I-70 corridor outside of Lee’s Summit it may not be a high priority to attract more retail space.
But more retail space may be necessary, as the population and employment projections suggest. There will be more purchasing power in the city as the population grows, and more jobs needed in retailing/dining. The projections indicate that over 900,000 additional square feet of retail space may be necessary to satisfy this growth.
Data on how many square feet of retail/dining space actually exists in Lee’s Summit is presently unavailable. Anecdotal evidence hints that there is “too much” retail space in the city in light of many changes in the nature of retailing—ecommerce, for instance. But more retail space will certainly be needed as growth continues.