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Unemployment Down In Kansas, But 1,000 More Jobs May Be Coming To Overland Park

Andrea Tudhope
KCUR 89.3
Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer joins Shamrock Trading Company CEO Bill Ryan as he announces his company will acquire vacant property at 95th and Metcalf, creating 1,000 new jobs.

One thousand new jobs with an average salary of $56,000 could be coming to Overland Park, Kansas, over the next five years.

Shamrock Trading Company promised the paychecks Tuesday with the expansion of its national headquarters at 95th Street across Metcalf Avenue.

But specifics in state and local tax incentives remain to be settled. To help lure the project, officials have offered tax breaks they didn't make public at a press conference about the expansion.

"There is a small amount of incentives that come from the state," Gov. Jeff Colyer said. "Those are being finished up right now, we don't have the final details. ...We're still in negotiation on that."

Colyer said Overland Park has also put incentives into a package for Shamrock.

The $250 million project will redevelop the 30-acre property on the northeast corner of the major intersection, which housed a K-Mart before it closed in 2013. But the property was once known for the French Market, which Colyer said he and his family often traveled to visit from Hays, Kansas, when he was a kid. 

"It was a shame to see it die and wilt right here," Colyer said. "But now it has life, and it has life because of Shamrock. They are really showing what we can do."

The 32-year-old family-owned transportation logistics and financial services business bought the two towers, then empty and rundown, on the northwest corner of 95th and Metcalf in 2012, bringing 700 jobs. As it expanded, CEO Bill Ryan said the company had a choice to either build a third tower, or expand across the street. Earlier this month, it purchased the 30-acre property across Metcalf. 

Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach said the expansion is the sort of project imagined in 'Vision Metcalf' — a redevelopment plan adopted by Overland Park City Council in 2008 to revitalize the Metcalf corridor from Interstate 35 South to 123rd Street, which has seen $570 million of private investment, and an additional $270 million within five designated areas, including the 95th Street intersection. 

"Other retail commercial development in this area are up for sale right now, so we're going to see more redevelopment along Metcalf shortly," Gerlach said. "That's the spine of Johnson County — Metcalf Avenue."

With unemployment rates in Kansas already at a low of 3.4 percent as of March, Colyer — who is running for a full term as governor — said he hopes these jobs will attract candidates residing outside of Kansas. 

Andrea Tudhope is a reporter at KCUR 89.3. Email her at andreat@kcur.org, and follow her on Twitter @_tudhope.

Andrea Tudhope is an award-winning multimedia journalist based in Kansas City, Missouri. She is currently coordinating producer for America Amplified, a national public media community engagement initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 
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