The Kansas City Council will consider a pair of proposals for tax breaks on the McQueeny Lock building, which three companies hope to make their headquarters.
An investment group called Monarch-520 Pennway LLC bought the 45,000-square-foot building, which is located in the Crossroads Arts District or the Westside Neighborhood, depending on who you ask.
The building, at 520 W. Pennway, is empty and has been the subject of several redevelopment plans that never became reality. Monarch-520 Pennway LLC wants to lease the building to Superior Bowen, Centric Projects and Inspired Homes.
Those leases would bring 300 jobs to the building with room for those companies to add 140 more, collectively.
The developer on the McQueeny project, Wes Grammer, said that the estimated $10 million cost of the project figures to grow, which necessitated a property tax abatement.
“The challenge we’re facing right now is rising costs,” Grammer told the Enhanced Enterprise Zone board Wednesday.
The Enhanced Enterprise Zone board approved two tax break scenarios for the council to consider: Give the owners of the building a 12-year, 75 percent property tax abatement; or give the owners what they wanted, which was a 12-year, 100 percent tax abatement, but attach a clawback provision to the abatement if the companies don’t follow through on projected employment growth.
Chase Simmons, a Polsinelli attorney representing the investor group behind the project, didn’t dismiss the idea of a clawback provision but said that the 100 percent tax abatement was important to the financing of the project.
“We really need to get the 100 percent to make the project work,” Simmons said.
Superior Bowen, an asphalt and development contracting firm, has its headquarters on Manchester Trafficway near the Truman Sports Complex. It will keep some operations there and elsewhere in the city, but it sought the McQueeny building for its headquarters to raise the company’s visibility and help with recruitment.
Superior Bowen would move 226 workers, according to documents filed with the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City.
Centric Projects has its headquarters on Main Street in the Crossroads Arts District but has apparently outgrown its office space where 60 employees currently work.
Inspired Homes is a homebuilding company based in North Kansas City. It’s related to Superior Bowen and has 14 employees.
In other developments at the Enhanced Enterprise Zone meeting:
▪ The board approved a tax abatement request by Alpha Energy and Electric Inc. to expand its headquarters at 1100 E. 34th St.
Alpha Electric wants to invest $1 million in expanding its 10,000-square-foot headquarters building by another 7,000 square feet or so. It plans to add 36 new jobs over the next six years, which would double the size of the company.
The board approved a 10-year, 75 percent property tax abatement for the Alpha project, which is less than the 100 percent abatement the company requested.
Gabriel Okafor, president of Alpha, said he planned to ask the Kansas City Council to consider a 100 percent abatement, adding that the city should want to see an East Side business grow.
“The big developers get everything they want and more,” Okafor said.
Okafor sits on the board of the Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority, another city agency that grants tax abatements.