Waddell & Reed Wins Approval for Downtown Move

Overland Park-based Waddell & Reed plans to move its headquarters to Downtown Kansas City, and it’s not planning to go into the proposed Strata development.

The city’s Neighborhood Planning and Development committee passed a package of incentives for the move, cleverly named “Project Decoy,” that would move the publicly traded financial-services company to 1400 Baltimore Ave.,  where a vacant office building now stands. The site is about a block away from the Kansas City Convention Center and just across Interstate 670 from the Loews Kansas City hotel, which is currently under construction and set to open next year.

According to the proposed ordinance, the development project would cost $148 million, bring 900 Waddell employees to the area and create 100 construction jobs. Waddell would sign a 15-year lease with the city. Financial Holding Corp. and Burns & McDonnell, reportedly the respective owner and developer of the site, will receive a 75-percent break on property taxes for 15 years and a sales-tax exemption on construction materials for which up to $25 million in bonds will be issued. The city will also provide a 15-year tax abatement for 50 percent of the economic activity generated by the headquarters. Waddell is also getting $62 million from the state to relocate from its current 6300 Lamar Ave. headquarters to Missouri.

In addition to the 919 employees Waddell would bring Downtown, the city says it is expected to add another 120 full-time jobs over six years with an average salary of $166,377, generating an annual payroll of $172.8 million. At that level, the city’s 1 percent earnings tax would generate nearly $1.73 million in additional revenue.

The City Council is expected to address the measure next week.