Topeka Kansas may be about to botch efforts to lure a corporate office complex and major league soccer stadium to Kansas City, according to some legislators who are pressuring Gov. Mark Parkinson’s administration to close a deal.
Medical software maker Cerner Corp. and the owners of the Kansas City Wizards are proposing a $414 million development near NASCAR’s Kansas Speedway. The project includes an office complex for 4,500 Cerner employees, an 18,500-seat stadium for the Wizards and two dozen soccer fields for amateur teams.
Kansas Commerce Secretary Dave Kerr told lawmakers Tuesday that he hopes to know by the end of the week whether the state, Cerner and the Wizards can agree on government incentives. Officials said the package — possibly worth more than $300 million — could include $155 million in bonds backed by local sales tax revenues.
During the House Appropriations Committee hearing, Chairman Kevin Yoder pointedly noted that the Cerner project is expected to bring 9,000 jobs to Kansas, compared to the 4,900 new jobs generated by the Department of Commerce’s business recruitment efforts during the 12 months ending in June.
“We want to be assured he’s doing everything he can to capture these jobs,” Yoder, an Overland Park Republican, said during a break. “I think legislators are genuinely concerned.”
Kerr said he’s working hard to close a deal, though when pressed by legislators he declined to say he’s confident.
Parkinson spokeswoman Beth Martino said the governor supports Kerr.