Kansas City, Mo. United Telecommunications Inc. is considering locations other than suburban Overland Park for a large office complex, a company spokesman says.
Mike Wildgen, Lawrence's city manager, confirmed today that there were "rumors" about Lawrence making a proposal to the company.
"Yes, but I'm not at liberty to talk about it. I've heard the rumor about it," Wildgen said.
Lawrence Chamber of Commerce officials were unavailable for comment shortly after noon today.
Overland Park has rezoned 247 acres for the proposed complex. United Telcom and its US Sprint long-distance telephone unit employ more than 7,000 people at 21 Kansas City area locations.
Jerry Cosley, United Telecom's vice president of corporate communications, said Monday that the company has been weighing proposals from other cities, some nearby and others ``further away.''
``WITH OUR responsibility to the shareholders, we're looking for the most economical opportunity for dealing with our facilities needs,'' said Cosley. ``We are getting significant expressions of interest, along with offers of substantial cost relief for us.''
Crosley said Kansas City and Missouri officials have made proposals, but would not give details or identify other communities expressing interest.
Kansas City Mayor Richard Berkley said property tax abatements are among options that have been discussed.
Overland Park Mayor Ed Eilert said Monday that his city has also discussed tax incentives with the company. He said that although Overland Park has not offered property tax relief to companies in the past, United Telecom may warrant special consideration because of the number of jobs it could bring.
IT WAS estimated earlier that the 21-building complex proposed for the Overland Park site might eventually serve 9,600 employees.
The state of Kansas outlined incentives it could provide, including corporate income tax credits for jobs and investment brought to the state. Those credits could increase if Overland Park designated an enterprise zone.
Louis Atherton, director of the Industrial Development Division of the Kansas Department of Commerce, said that in an enterprise zone, the tax credits would increase from $100 to $350 for each job created and each $100,000 of capital investment.