A City Council committee on Wednesday endorsed a property tax break for a fast-growing insurance company to support the addition of 1,000 new jobs to downtown Kansas City.
The full Council votes Thursday on the proposal for Spring Venture Group, which hopes to move next year from its Crown Center offices into a largely vacant office building on West 12th Street.
“It’s very exciting. It’s a big job creator,” attorney Evan Fitts, representing Spring Venture, told the council’s planning, zoning and economic development committee.
Spring Venture Group has not yet signed a lease for the building at 120 W. 12th St., but Fitts told the committee the 12-year property tax abatement would help pave the way for that move.
He said the company is “bursting at the seams,” in its current location, and expects to create more than 1,000 new full-time jobs over the next six years, with an average annual salary of $72,000.
The group, which specializes in the exploding Medicare supplemental insurance business, started in Kansas City in 2010 with 24 employees. It has grown from 319 to 374 employees in the last two months, and expects to be at 432 full-time employees by the year’s end.
“We look forward to remaining in Kansas City, downtown,” Jeffery Anderson, co-founder and chief operating officer, told the committee.
Fitts and others said the group could have moved to the suburbs or Kansas, but wanted to remain downtown.
It expects to make an estimated $8 million to $12 million in tenant improvements to the West 12th Street building, which formerly housed law offices but which has been largely vacant for at least four years.
Fitts said Spring Venture needed the 100-percent, 12-year property tax abatement through the Enhanced Enterprise Zone program to partially offset the high cost of providing employee parking downtown. The value of the property tax abatement, which applies to the improved real property, not the base property, was estimated at $2,175,390 over the 12-year period.
Councilman Quinton Lucas said the proposal was an illustration of how tax incentives can be used to retain and grow a company with high quality jobs in Kansas City.
The measure includes a “clawback” provision that would lower the abatement to 75 percent if Spring Venture doesn’t achieve 550 full-time jobs within five years. It anticipates reaching that threshold in about two years.