Rapidly growing marketing communications agency Signal Theory announced today it would move its downtown Kansas City office from the Crossroads Arts District to Westport, the historic dining and entertainment neighborhood less than three miles south.
The agency’s growth – accelerated recently by its focus on animal health and food clients such as SONIC Drive-In, Merck Animal Health, Bayer Animal Health and Seaboard Foods – made the move necessary. From 2015 to 2018, the number of Kansas City-based Signal Theory employees grew from 87 to 124, and revenue increased by 30 percent.
“We’ve outgrown our space,” said Ali Mahaffy, Signal Theory co-CEO. “But calling an iconic Kansas City neighborhood home was important to everyone in the agency. Westport’s unique personality and convenience make the area a perfect fit for us.”
In addition to culture and personality, the agency’s 14-month search focused on room for future growth, adequate parking and surrounding amenities. Signal Theory ultimately selected Manor Square in the heart of Old Westport at 4050 Pennsylvania Ave. The agency will move in November 2019. The Manor Square building wraps around Kelly’s Westport Inn at the corner of Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue to straddle the block, with frontage on Pennsylvania Ave., Westport Rd. and Mill St. Tenants include the Char Bar restaurant and Tivoli Cinemas on Pennsylvania Ave., and Offkey Karaoke Lounge & Suites at the corner of Westport Rd. and Mill St.
The agency is collaborating with Kansas City-based Odimo on the design and architecture of its new creative and collaborative space, with renovation taking place from January to November 2019. With the move, Signal Theory’ Kansas City office will grow from 26,000 square feet to 42,000 square feet.
“We’re exploring a range of designs that balance the need for quiet, thoughtful areas with open, collaborative environments and unique meeting spaces,” said Signal Theory co-CEO John January. “Odimo understands our culture and what we need to continue to evolve.”
Access to parking was a key factor in the agency’s decision. Every Signal Theory employee will have a covered parking space in Manor Square’s 700-space garage. In addition to the Manor Square restaurants and movie theater, Westport offers a wide variety of dining, entertainment and shopping options, four hotels, a grocery store and other amenities. Signal Theory’s extensive market search and building evaluation/negotiation was led by Larry Glaze and Anné Erickson of JLL, along with Signal Theory Chief Operating Officer Jim Vranicar and Chief Financial Officer Tony Robinson.
“Seeking out just the right space was daunting,” said Vranicar. “But we believe we’ve found the right home for who we are today and who we want to be tomorrow.”
The renovation of the Signal Theory space is part of a larger Manor Square development. The proposed $75 million West Port Terrace at Manor Square project includes apartments around Char Bar on Pennsylvania Avenue and a nine-story building on Mill Street that would feature lofts and a 120-room boutique hotel. The plan also calls for a public park with green space atop the existing parking garage. Signal Theory first opened in Kansas City in 1998 and moved to its current location just off Southwest Blvd. in 2005.
About Signal Theory
An Agency of the Year for both Ad Age and the Business Marketing Association, Signal Theory exists to inspire brands and people to be remarkable. With offices in Kansas City and Wichita, the agency is focused on animal health and the food value supply chain, including agriculture, food production and processing, grocery products and restaurants. Signal Theory clients include SONIC®, America’s Drive-In®; AMC Theatres; Merck Animal Health; Bayer Animal Health; Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health; Burns & McDonnell; Cargill; Lowe’s Home Improvement; Procter & Gamble; Seaboard Foods and Shatto Milk Company, among others. The agency’s Signal Theory FoodThink blog researches and reports on consumer attitudes and trends regarding food and food production. Connect with Signal Theory on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Twitter.