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Lack of office space contributed to Starbucks not locating jobs to area

Posted at 7:18 PM, Oct 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-31 20:18:30-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Downtown Kansas City is in the middle of its revitalization, new apartments and hotels are popping up all over the area. But the lack of office space was one of the reasons Starbucks passed on pouring in nearly a thousand jobs to the area. 

According to Kansas City's Economic Development Corporation, Starbucks looked at several factors including office space such as workforce, the airport and political climate to name a few. Late Spring of this year, Starbucks notified the city they were moving on. 

41 Action News looked at how much office space there is, and according to the Downtown Council from 2013 to now, there's 468,455 sq. ft. of office space built with 1,385,000 sq. ft. planned. 

"Office always follows rooftops, it follows population, and as more and more of the young talent move downtown, in a tight labor market, that's where the companies need to be in order to attract that good talent," said Gib Kerr, Director of Capitol Markets at Cushman and Wakefield. 

Kerr said adding office space is the last piece to KC's downtown revitalization puzzle. 

To see the full breakdown of square footage for office space, apartments, click here.

"We're kind of late getting to the game here in Kansas City compared to some of our peer cities like Denver but its happening now," said Kerr. 

And that's key because Kerr said for developers to build new office buildings, a major tenant needs to come forward-it's a matter of confidence, "They've seen how successful the apartment projects have been and how successful some of the recent office conversions have been as well so now I think more developers are confident that a new office tower could fill up as well". 

The current office space vacancy rate in downtown Kansas City currently sits at 8.8 percent, the lowest in many years.