Perceptive Software Moving from Shawnee to Lenexa
By KEVIN COLLISON
The Kansas City Star
June 1, 2012
Perceptive will leave Shawnee, move a few miles southeast
to struggling development.
Perceptive Software is planning to leave Shawnee for new
headquarters in the Lenexa City Center, breathing life into that struggling
development but sparking tension between neighboring Johnson County suburbs.
The Lenexa Planning Commission is scheduled to review a
proposal next week that calls for a four-story office building, a 540-stall
parking garage and a 921-space surface lot at the southwest corner of 87th
Street Parkway and Renner Boulevard in the City Center development.
The deal would be subsidized by $15.1 million in tax
increment financing help from Lenexa that would be reimbursed by a portion of
the additional taxes the new project is expected to generate. The
120,000-square-foot project would be completed in 2013, according to the
Perceptive Software and its more than 600 local employees
are at Shawnee Mission Parkway and Kansas 7 in Shawnee. Its three-story,
100,000-square-foot headquarters building, built with the help of tax
abatements, was completed for the firm in 2005.
Shawnee officials were unhappy Friday about the prospect
of Perceptive leaving one subsidized project for another incentive-driven deal
a few miles away in Lenexa.
“I’m very troubled
by it,” Shawnee Councilman Jeff Vaught said. “We aggressively went after them,
offering abatements and cash. We used every tool we had in the box.
“I’m pro economic
development and I support incentives if they’re used properly, but the city of
Lenexa is giving away city land and taxpayer money to move a company four miles
within the county. It’s such an abuse of incentives.”
Lenexa officials were unavailable for comment, but
Copaken Brooks, the developer hired by Lenexa in 2005 to try to get the
200-acre City Center development moving forward, was elated.
“We are pleased to
have the opportunity to bring Perceptive Software, a leading global technology
company, to Lenexa and City Center,” said Keith Copaken, a principal at Copaken
Brooks, in a statement.
“We believe the City Center development is an ideal
location for Perceptive Software and will provide an outstanding work
environment for the company and its associates, now and into the future.”
Lenexa has been pursuing the City Center project since
2002. The ambitious development calls for a pedestrian-friendly development
with offices, retail and residences. Though the city has spent $55 million on
roads and other infrastructure, the endeavor has struggled to take off.
Should the Perceptive Software project move forward, it
would bring a fast-growing business to the development that should boost its
prospects. Plans submitted by Copaken Brooks to Lenexa indicate a second-phase,
120,000-square-foot office building also is planned for the future for
Sherlyn Manson, a spokeswoman for the firm, confirmed
that plans to move to Lenexa had been submitted, but she declined further
“It’s early in the process,” she said. “The city is
reviewing the proposal.”
Vaught said using incentives to assist a suburban project
such as Lenexa City Center goes against the intent of such programs.
“Incentives originally were intended for troubled areas
where the demographics are horrible and nobody wanted to go there,” he said.
“For Lenexa to aggressively go after this project to
correct their mistake … you don’t give away that much to move a company four
miles. There’s no gain to the community or the county.”
The latest inter-suburban flap is reminiscent of the
situation in 2007 when Lenexa offered a property tax abatement to lure the
headquarters of Applebee’s International from Overland Park. Applebee’s stayed
in its new building at 11201 Renner Road until last year when it moved to
Kansas City, aided by a $12.9 million incentive package.
Perceptive Software was founded as Perceptive Vision in
1988 in Missouri, and it moved to Lenexa in 1994. The company moved to Shawnee
in 1999. Its software helps businesses computerize and manage their documents
and manage workflow and other business processes.
In 2010, Lexmark International of Lexington, Ky.,
acquired Perceptive for $280 million, although the firm remains a stand-alone
Besides Shawnee, it has offices in Europe, Asia, the
Middle East and South Africa.
The building now housing Perceptive Software at 22701 W.
68th Terrace was built by Tom Zarda with the help of tax abatements. It was
bought in 2007 by David Harvey of Overland Park-based StoneCreek Properties.
Harvey said Perceptive’s lease runs through October 2015.
“We did everything in our power to keep them, and the
city of Shawnee did everything as well,” he said. “The decision went well
Though he’s disappointed, Harvey said he’s confident a
new tenant will be found for the 7-year-old building.
“We still have a
contract with Perceptive for an extended period of time, and it’s a spectacular
building that will be an opportunity for another company to move in,” he said.