Lee's Summit OK's $12M Incentive Package to Lure Tech Jobs

Companies and CorporationsPropertyBob Johnson

There could be an early Christmas gift for Lee's Summit next week, as a technology company is considering moving their headquarters, and nearly 400 jobs, to the city after the city council approved over $12 million in incentives.

Lee's Summit is trying to lure clean energy company Exergonics to property recently vacated by Pfizer. In addition, the city is trying to lure another company, with 85 jobs, to relocate to the Lee's Summit Municipal Airport.

"I've been in this business for 35 years and this has been one of the biggest days in my professional career," said Jim Devine of the Lee's Summit Economic Council. "Pfizer has left. Calamar has left town. So both of these projects overnight represent we've turned a new corner."

To make that a reality, the City Council agreed to spend $1.5 million to acquire land for the Exergonics. It also agreed to a ten year, $10-million tax abatement program. In return, Exergonics would bring 275 jobs to town.

Riverside in the Northland is also vying for the Exergonics headquarters project. The company is expected to make a decision early next week.

"These are high tech quality jobs and we need to make the statement that we're open for business for quality jobs," said Lee's Summit City Council member Bob Johnson. "We're tired of just retail jobs to Lee's Summit with tax subsidies. If we're going to use tax subsidization, let's make it quality jobs which can further additional quality jobs."

"The indirect impacts are really important in this discussion," said Devine. "The school district get $6 million out of this. The city gets $2 million over 10 years. Not bad for a vacant piece of property."

With the second plan, another company would take up space at the Lee's Summit Municipal Airport. The city would spend $600,000 on infrastructure and in return the company would bring 85 new jobs, office space and a hangar for six planes. The airport project will be decided early next year.

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