By Kevin Collison
Rau Construction is relocating its headquarters from Overland Park to the West Bottoms, returning to its Kansas City roots where the family-owned firm was founded in 1905 after migrating from Germany.
“We’re high on the West Bottoms,” said Dan Meyer, Rau president. “We think it’s the new up and coming area, and the next area for growth.”
The relocation of the estimated 36 headquarter employees comes after the Kansas City Council approved a tax incentive package last July providing a 75 percent property tax abatement for 10 years.
The Council actually sweetened the incentive deal recommended by the Enhanced Enterprise Zone board, which had endorsed a 50 percent, 10-year abatement.
Rau originally had sought a 10-year, 100 percent abatement. City staff had recommended the 75 percent, 10-year abatement.
EEZ board members were concerned at the time the relocation would be seen as shirking the metro Border War ceasefire agreement reached in late 2019 between Missouri and Kansas, according to minutes of the deliberations.
“This project is impacted by the “border war” and in reality, there are no new “net” jobs created for the metro, since the company is relocating 36 jobs from Kansas to Missouri,” the EEZ minutes recorded.
Rau is renovating a property at 1215 W. 12th St. that it has been using as a warehouse and yards. City records indicated permits valued at $820,000 have been taken out for the project.
Meyer declined to discuss what his firm’s timetable for completing the renovation and relocating its employees to the West Bottoms.
Rau was founded in 1870 in Solgen, Germany, and migrated to 18th and Harrison in Kansas City in 1905. The firm relocated to Overland Park in the 1950s, according to the EEZ.
One of the firm’s specialties is historic renovation projects and it recently completed work on a large apartment rehab project just a few blocks away of its new headquarters site called West Bottoms Flats.
Rau also is the latest in a series of moves or expansions downtown by construction firms.
McCownGordon completed a $10.5 million headquarters project at Ninth and Main in 2019; Centric Projects renovated a new headquarters at 520 W. Pennway in 2018, and in 2009, J.E. Dunn opened its new headquarters at 11th and Locust.
Liam Dai contributed to this report
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