At times this weekend, moving vans at half-hour intervals are scheduled to disgorge desks, chairs, tables and cabinets, piece-by-piece injecting more signs of business into a Kansas City office building where some empty walls have echoed for two years.
The activity signals a move of 430 employees to the Country Club Plaza, billed as a win for Missouri in the economic development border war with Kansas.
On Friday, carpenters, painters and computer technicians swarmed several floors of the Plaza Steppes building at 700 W. 47th St., moving operations of CBIZ and Mayer Hoffman McCann from Leawood.
The companies’ move to floors 7 through 11 plus part of the 6th floor goes a long way toward repopulating the six and a half floors vacated by the Polsinelli law firm in 2013 when it moved to the new Plaza Vista building just west of the Plaza.
“They’re working round the clock, and will continue through the weekend,” said CBIZ president Carolyn Watley. “The biggest challenge was needing everyone to be packed up and ready to go.”
The logistics of the one-fell-swoop move were detailed. CBIZ and MHM employees left their Tomahawk Creek Parkway work stations at the close of business Thursday and expect to be at work, fully operational, by Monday morning.
CBIZ, a business consulting firm, and MHM, its independent certified public accounting firm, last summer revealed that they had chosen the Kansas City location after a year-long site search prompted by the need to downsize after selling off a related business.
“We wanted the right amount of space for what we are today,” Watley said. “And this location gives us options to take more space as we grow. … Plus, it’s a great opportunity to get refreshed.”
The state of Missouri offered a tax incentive package that could be worth up to $26 million under the Missouri Works program, based on the companies’ meeting specific job creation and investment promises. The program would let the companies keep their employee state income taxes for a certain number of years.
CBIZ and MHM are taking about 120,000 square feet in the 11-story Plaza Steppes tower, which was completed in 1987. It also was known as the Executive Hills-Plaza building. The companies left a 10-year-old building in Leawood.
Watley, who’s active in the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and other metropolitan organizations, said she believes each company in the area “will do the right thing for their business (location), and that’s what we’re doing.”
Watley said the “border war debate is a large conversation — certainly larger than our company — that involves the states getting together and making a determination for this area to do things differently. And we’re not there yet.”
Meanwhile, she said, the office move worked wonders to get rid of lots and lots of accumulated paper. In preparation, the companies have been shredding and recycling about 75,000 pounds a month.
Not to mention rediscovered eight-inch floppy discs.