Kansas to give Panasonic $4.9 million building for free after millions in tax incentives

In addition to the $829 million in tax credits and other economic incentives, Kansas is giving Panasonic an unused government building in Olathe for free.

The Kansas State Finance Council, composed of Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly and legislative leadership, voted Thursday transfer ownership of the Kansas Bioscience Authority building to the Japanese tech firm that is building a $4 billion battery plant in De Soto.

As of 2022, the roughly 39,000 square foot-building and two acres of land were valued at just over $4.9 million, according to Johnson County appraisal records. During the Finance Council meeting Bob North, general counsel for the Commerce Department, erroneously told officials the property was appraised at less than $1 million.

North said transfer of the building was part of the state’s negotiations with Panasonic.

“They’ve begun investing in the building, they’ve already got people located in the building now,” North said.

The company will use the building for training and offices.

Lawmakers approved the transfer of the land just before they were set to review a proposal for another massive incentive using the same program that lured Panasonic.

Later in the day Thursday Kelly announced $300 million in incentives for Integra Technologies to build a new semiconductor plant in Wichita.

According to the Associated Press, Kansas invested about $232 million in the Bioscience Authority since it was established in 2004 in an effort to accelerate bioscience growth in Kansas.

The agency’s funding was meant to attract bioscience companies to Kansas and then use tax dollars from those companies to fund more recruitment efforts. But the agency’s budget was cut under former Republican Gov. Sam Brownback.

In 2016 the Brownback administration agreed to sell the authority’s investment portfolio for just $14 million.

The Star’s Jenna Barackman contributed to this report.