Waddell & Reed no longer planning to move to new downtown KC office tower

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Investment company Waddell & Reed is staying put in Overland Park. The news comes after the company’s pending acquisition and plans to cut 200 workers.

The company made an incentive deal with Kansas City for a multimillion dollar high-rise downtown. Now, the sign outside the construction site says “coming 2022,” but the tenant won’t be Waddell & Reed.

However, according to the city, the project will continue no matter what because the developer and company are under contract. The $140 million building will sit empty for now.

Fourth District Councilman Eric Bunch said he was the deciding ‘yes’ vote on the incentive plan. He said he hesitated in voting for the project but felt Kansas City Public Schools would benefit in the long run from the project, based on funding.

“I think we saw the warning signs that this is something that could happen. So my job now is going to be to figure out what’s next? And who’s going to occupy that building,” Bunch said.

Bunch said he will be looking at what clawbacks will be possible.

The city agreed to a 6-year 75% tax abatement with the company. After nine years, it would turn into 37.5%. The developer also got a sales tax exemption on construction materials, along with other incentives.

Waddell & Reed was acquired by the Australia-based Macquarie Group. A Macquarie representative said in a statement:

“We can confirm that we will not be occupying the new building, Macquarie and LPL remain committed to the region and supporting the needs of our clients and staff here.”

Third District Councilwoman Melissa Robinson voted ‘no’ on the 18-story tower. She said she will no longer support incentives in the downtown district. 

“At some point we have to allow the market to perform in that area. And that’s one of the reasons why I feel like we should be shifting tax incentives. And we should be shifting development east of Troost in areas that desperately need it,” Robinson said.

Mayor Quinton Lucas would not comment on the move, but his deputy chief of staff, Morgan Said, said in a statement: 

“Macquarie is contractually committed to lease or sublease the Class A office space, and the developer is committed to constructing the building to completion. The developer has shared that the project remains on time and on budget.”

The state of Missouri offered $62 million in incentives to the company for the move.

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