AMC Theatres moving headquarters from KC to Leawood - KCTV5

AMC Theatres moving headquarters from KC to Leawood

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

AMC Theatres announced Wednesday that it is moving its headquarters from Kansas City to Leawood.

The new headquarters will be Park Place in the Kansas suburb. AMC said the company's 450 associates, contractors and subcontractors will be housed in the new $30 million facility at 117th Street and Nall Avenue.

The loss is a significant blow to Kansas City. AMC has been headquartered in Kansas City since the company was founded in 1920. The company headquarters has been in downtown Kansas City for more than four decades. The current lease was set to expire in 2013.

Based on number of screens, AMC is the nation's second largest movie chain.

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback said in a statement that Kansas won a hard-fought battle.

"We were competing with states around the country," Brownback said. "AMC has a long tradition of supporting the entire metro area. And we look forward to that continuing for many years to come."

Kansas City Councilman Ed Ford said he understands that Kansas offered $40 million in tax incentives and tax breaks to lure AMC from Kansas City.

"The real losers are the taxpayers and citizens of Kansas who have seen their property taxes go up and the state's contribution to education go down because of corporate welfare and poaching," Ford said.

AMC decided last year to look for a new location for its headquarters. They said leaving Kansas City is a "bittersweet" decision.

"We realized last year (that) AMC needed more office space and a number of features, which our current location couldn't provide," said Gerry Lopez, AMC's chief executive officer and president. "A move was inevitable. We looked at alternatives all over the country, but in the end the KC Metro is our home and we opted to stay here."

Company officials said they considered accessibility, nearby amenities, economics and building quality in determining a location for the new headquarters.

AMC said the new location will allow the company to make significant upgrades. Also significant was that the property will allow the company to have the existing AMC Town Center 20 nearby.

"This new building will provide associates with state-of-the-art space in an excellent community and, ultimately, create a special environment where we can work on the magic of the movie business," said Mark McDonald, an executive vice president.

Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn applauded the decision.

"I think anytime you have 450 employees coming to your community daily I think it will be a tremendous win for tax rolls and revenue," Dunn said.

The mayor said Leawood didn't offer any incentives.

The Leawood Chamber of Commerce also cheered the announcement, saying in a statement it further proves that the city is "one of the most exciting and vibrant areas in the Kansas City region."

The Chamber's Kevin Jeffries told KCTV5 that he thinks Leawood's real estate and the opportunities in the surrounding area made all the difference.

Ground will be broken on the new facility next month.

AMC officials said despite the move, the company remains committed to downtown Kansas City.

"We are appreciative of the efforts the city of Kansas City, MO made to retain us and we intend to maintain our commitment and contribution in downtown and beyond," Lopez said. "For us, moving the home office is bittersweet, but we are excited to turn a new page in AMC's history with a modern and innovative office building."

Sun Dee Larson, spokeswoman for AMC, said the decision "was made to move for a variety of factors. Basically, we've just outgrown our space."

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