By Jerry LaMartina
With city and state public incentives valued at more than $1 million, ServiceMaster DSI will move its national large-loss division and regional headquarters from southeast Kansas City, Mo., to Shawnee, bringing with it 100 employees initially and a promise to hire 50 more by 2022.
Jay Miller with ServiceMaster said the company would not have chosen Shawnee without the incentives.
The average salary for the company’s employees for the first five years will be between $61,000 and $65,000; over 10 years, the average will increase to $67,000, Shawnee Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ann Smith-Tate said.
The disaster-restoration company will buy, upgrade and move to a roughly 46,300-square-foot building at 8450 Cole Parkway in Shawnee, where its executive management and administrative support staff for its entire four-state operations will also be located.
ServiceMaster will pay $3.25 million for the building, President and CEO Kim Brooks said. The transaction is scheduled to close on Friday, and the company will take possession April 20.
The company will move its roughly 60 regional production employees first, Brooks said. The company’s architect has drawn plans for the renovation and will soon seek city approval for them.
“We are incredibly happy to be over there,” Brooks said. “We’ve been looking for the right place to go for approximately two years.”
The Shawnee City Council at its Monday night meeting authorized the issuance of up to $3.4 million in industrial revenue bonds, which will exempt the company from paying sales tax on construction materials, and on ad valorem taxes on the property for 10 years at a 67.5 percent average abatement rate. That abatement’s total value is nearly $1 million, Smith-Tate said. None of the taxes currently being paid on the property will be abated, city spokeswoman Julie Breithaupt said. The abatement will be only on the increment between the current value and the increased value after the property’s improvements are made.
When the bonds are issued, the city will own the property and lease it to ServiceMaster. The bonds are payable solely through the company’s lease payments.
The council also approved a Shawnee Entrepreneurial & Economic Development (SEED) Forgivable Loan Program agreement with ServiceMaster. According to a Monday memo from the law firm Kutak Rock LLP, the city’s bond counsel, and Shawnee Finance Director Maureen Rogers, the SEED agreement gives ServiceMaster incentives worth $225,600, which is 2.5 percent of estimated new payroll of just over $9 million during five years.
The $225,600 includes a $181,740 forgivable loan for relocation expenses and credits for using local construction contractors for at least 50 percent of the value of the work and making “substantial” contribution to at least one Shawnee-based charitable organization; and $43,860 through a series of annual 1.5-percent pay-as-you-go opportunities contingent on meeting job growth targets for the second through fifth years.
Deffenbaugh Industries, not the city, funds the SEED program entirely, through the Economic Development Fund, Smith-Tate said.
Ward 2 Councilman Mike Kemmling cast the lone dissenting vote on the city’s incentives.
ServiceMaster also received an undisclosed amount of High Performance Incentive Program (HPIP) and Promoting Employment Across Kansas Program (PEAK) funds for the relocation.
“This is just a great company,” Smith-Tate said. “They looked at a lot of site around the metro area and found that Shawnee suited their needs on multiple fronts. It speaks well of Shawnee and our ability to attract this high level of jobs and quality company.”