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CivicPlus announces expansion

By Bryan Richardson

CivicPlus is expanding its presence in Manhattan with a new facility and more jobs in the decade to come, the company announced Friday.

The software company, founded in Manhattan in 2001 and builds websites for city and county governments, is partnering up with the city, the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce and the Kansas Department of Commerce to build a mixed use, at least five-story building, estimated to cost approximately $9 million, at the southwest corner of Fourth and Pierre streets.

CEO Ward Morgan said the company is being compared to Microsoft and Google in terms of the work environment. CivicPlus is currently spread out in three different buildings.

“We have to be able to match that kind of environment,” he said.

In the next ten years, the company plans on expanding from its current 83 employees and produce more than 250 new full-time positions with average wages of more than $45,000 in the next ten years. CivicPlus will also offer internship opportunities.

Morgan said the company is poised to grow by as much as 40 percent in the next year.

“Our growth has really taken off in the past couple of years,” he said. “We’re becoming a dominant player in our market space.”

The company produces websites for more than 1,000 cities and counties throughout the United States, with international clients in Canada and Australia.

Chamber president Lyle Butler said CivicPlus has been mostly an “under the radar” company during its growth.

“This is an exact example of a company we want to stay in Manhattan and help grow,” he said.

Morgan considered moving the company to Kansas City area and other major cities.

“We’re a type of company that’s desirable to communities recruiting for economic development,” he said.

The chamber began working with CivicPlus to help keep the company in Manhattan, Butler said.

He said the work included the state commerce department’s workforce incentive program and the continued downtown economic development. He said the plans for an attractive building with a good work environment and the urbanization of the area will help CivicPlus recruit workers.

“If we hadn’t worked hard as a chamber and city, we would have lost 80 pretty good jobs to another community,” Butler said.

Morgan said the most of the jobs coming in will be higher-end such as software engineers, programmers and graphic designers.

CivicPlus remaining in Manhattan allows for further growth in the city if the company succeeds, Butler said.

Morgan said there are plans to create a tech incubator to provide the facility and resources necessary for other software companies to start in Manhattan. Once the new building is completed, the incubator would be in the building, which the company is renovating, at 4th and Houston streets.

“That would not be specifically for CivicPlus, but a contribution to the community to allow other companies to thrive in Manhattan,” he said.

The city partnership could increase further on Tuesday when the City Commission will consider an economic development incentive application to assist CivicPlus with its expansion.

“The city is pleased to formulate a proposal that keeps CivicPlus a Manhattan-based business,” city manager Ron Fehr said in a press release. “Our recent investments in redevelopment have kept downtown Manhattan a vibrant place for businesses to thrive and grow.”

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