KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City, Missouri City Council took the first steps Thursday in a long process that could eventually lead to a new multi-story, multi-tenant building on the southwest corner of 13th and Main streets downtown.
City Scene KC first reported the project as part of a discussion at a recent board meeting of Port KC where officials discussed a lack of Class A office space and a plan to add more space to the downtown market.
Port KC President and CEO Jon Stephens told 41 Action News Thursday afternoon the Port KC board has approved an "inducement resolution" that would offer the organization's support pending council approval.
Renderings provided to 41 Action News by Jon Copaken, Principal at Kansas City-based Copaken-Brooks, show a futuristic building with several features across the street from the H&R Block office tower. It will be 25 stories and 250,000 square feet.
The council advanced initial details of the plan, which would be built atop a space currently occupied by the Yard House restaurant, to the city's Finance and Governance Committee. That committee has not yet set a date to consider the plan.
It could bring in hundreds of jobs.
“We really are in need right now of Class A office spaces in downtown Kansas City. It’s one of the top things we’ve heard from people who want to relocate. This is the ability to get that done,” said Councilwoman Jolie Justus, who introduced the ordinance.
The agreement with H&R Block has been in place since 2004, and under it the city must build and pay for parking. Originally, it was to be 1,333 parking spaces, which was shrunk down to 750, therefore shrinking the city's obligation from $69 million to $36 million. A financing agreement with PortKC saves another $6 million.
The office space portion would cost the city $27 million in bonds.
“That is a good amount of money to put into a project with incentives and all those sorts of things. We certainly want to see momentum going, we went to see office project like this, but we also want to make sure we have to pay tens of millions of dollars before we’re just cutting a check,” said Councilman Quinton Lucas.
Port KC plans to pay off the debt by using some of the state withholding taxes generated at the office building.
“You put in a new office building and that is successful, and then the hope is that it has a ripple effect,” said Justus.
At the end of October, Starbucks said part of the reason why they decided not to bring a thousand jobs to KC was because of the lack of office space downtown.
Office space vacancy rate is at 8.8 percent, the lowest in many years.
A council committee will talk with the developers and the city manager to get more details next Wednesday.