KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Waddell & Reed may never move into the headquarters under construction in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, but its new parent company will be responsible for leasing or subleasing space there.
Macquarie Asset Management bought Waddell & Reed for $1.7 billion in early December.
“Macquarie is contractually committed to lease or sublease the Class A office space and the developer is committed to constructing the building to completion,” KCMO Mayor Quinton Lucas’ office said Wednesday in a statement. “The developer has shared that the project remains on time and on budget.”
The Waddell & Reed headquarters building is a $140 million project at West 14th Street and Baltimore Avenue in downtown KCMO.
The mayor’s office went on to note that “this deal was hatched under a prior administration,” but Lucas voted to authorize the project four months after becoming mayor.
The lease 15-year agreement with Waddell & Reed passed 8-4 in December 2019 with the KCMO City Council approving a 75% tax abatement for the first six years and a 37.5% tax abatement for the remaining nine years.
"I think it’s fair to say this didn’t start off the way we’d like, but I think it’s ending the way we would like — agreement from the public schools, agreement from the taxing jurisdictions and a project that’s still bringing jobs to downtown Kansas City," Lucas said at the time.
Waddell & Reed announced in June 2019 that it was exploring a relocation back to KCMO, where the company originally was based before moving to Overland Park three decades ago.
Now, the project, which only moved nine miles to reap a massive tax windfall, is a building without a tenant, but the mayor’s office didn’t seem concerned.
“The City expects the 1400 Baltimore building to be a strong asset for office relocations to downtown Kansas City,” Lucas’ office said in a statement. “The project also will support much-needed parking demand due to the shuttered and expensive-to-replace Barney Allis Plaza garage.”
Initial plans to make the first 10 floors of the building a parking garage drew ire and forced the project to be reimagined.
Waddell & Reed has approximately 1,000 employees, but Macquarie informed the state of Kansas last month of plans to lay off 219 employees.
Macquarie plans to divest Waddell & Reed's wealth management platform to LPL Financial Holdings when the deal closes in late April, which is when the layoffs will take effect.
Waddell & Reed originally planned to move into the new headquarters in 2022.