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Archive for Thursday, April 5, 2012

Pharma company moving 400 jobs from Missouri to Overland Park

April 5, 2012

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— Pharmaceutical company Teva Neuroscience has been roped into the tug-of-war between Kansas and Missouri over the use of incentives to lure businesses across the state line, announcing it plans to move its headquarters and 400 employees from Kansas City, Mo., to Overland Park, Kan.

The company, best known for producing drugs for mulitiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease, looked at 30 sites on both sides of the state line before deciding to become the first major office development in 20 years to move into Johnson County's premier corporate area, The Kansas City Star reported Wednesday.

Greg Westbrook, vice president of human resources at Teva, said a financial incentive package from Kansas and Overland Park, which the company declined to disclose, was only one factor in decision to move. Missouri and Kansas City also offered an incentive package.

"It wasn't so much about not Missouri. It was the right spot, and there were few options to choose from at that point," Westbrook said.

The chance to build a 154,000-square-foot building in a premier corporate area was a major factor in the decision.

"It's a high-profile tenant in a high-profile site," said Ken Block, president of Block Development Co., the developer of the Teva project.

Teva's move is the latest in a series of incentive-induced decisions by major employers. Last year, AMC Entertainment announced it would leave downtown Kansas City, Mo., for Leawood, Kan., with the help of a reported $47 million incentive package. And Applebee's International relocated from Lenexa, Kan., to Kansas City, Mo., lured by a $12.9 million package.

During a special session last fall, the Missouri General Assembly considered a proposal that would have provided $30 million in land assembly incentives to attract Teva to the former site of Bannister Mall in south Kansas City. That plan fizzled when the Legislature failed to pass an economic development package.

"We should have done this in special session," said Democratic Rep. Michael Brown of Kansas City, who sponsored the legislation. "Teva wanted to stay in Missouri, but Kansas was offering way too much. We're competing with another state and coming up with legislation, but we're not doing it in time."

Dan Lara, a spokesman for the Kansas Department of Commerce, confirmed the state had offered incentives to Teva but said the amount would remain confidential until a contract was signed.

Work is scheduled to begin in July if the necessary approvals are received from Overland Park, with the building ready for occupancy in October 2013.

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