Ground broken on new TD Ameritrade headquarters
TD Ameritrade Park will open in downtown Omaha next year, hosting the College World Series.
In spring 2013, TD Ameritrade will open its corporate headquarters near West Dodge Road.
Wednesday, the Omaha-based discount brokerage officially marked the start of construction on its 12-story headquarters tower — the city's tallest building west of 52nd Street (230 feet) — and attached three-story office pavilion.
The $130 million project, the crown jewel in the company's four-building Old Mill office campus, is proof TD Ameritrade is here to stay, said President and CEO Fred Tomczyk.
"We've just grown so much," Tomczyk said. "To create a campus in Omaha made the most long-term sense. This is the final piece. It's going to change the visual landscape of west-central Omaha."
The company's firm commitment to Omaha is important, because other local startup companies, including Level 3 Communications and First Data Resources, eventually moved their headquarters out of state.
Concern that TD Ameritrade, whose biggest shareholder now is Toronto Dominion Bank rather than the family of founder Joe Ricketts, would do the same increased after Tomczyk became CEO. His primary residence is in New Jersey, where TD Ameritrade has executive offices.
Tomczyk said Wednesday that the company's commitment to Nebraska is growing as the company expands. He noted that more than 1,000 employees are volunteering at the Special Olympics under way in Lincoln.
"This is more than about the construction. It's about our commitment to the community," he said.
Preceding a groundbreaking ceremony this morning, Gov. Dave Heineman said TD Ameritrade is "one of Nebraska's most successful home-grown businesses."
"They're a leader, and we're pleased to have them right here in Omaha," he said.
Mayor Jim Suttle said the company is "an outstanding corporate citizen," and the construction jobs created by the project are welcome, as is the company's own success.
The project is "a positive sign that our city is on the path to recovery," Suttle said.
The site already is starting to bustle.
In the two years since TD Ameritrade announced its plans to build a headquarters building there, the property has been cleared of most of the low-rise office buildings built there decades ago. A two-story dirt pile is settling the soil in preparation for foundation work later this summer. Cranes are being assembled.
A poster of an architect's drawing of the building is in place along 108th Avenue, which is narrowed for construction work.
When the headquarters building opens, TD Ameritrade will vacate offices it leases at Southroads Mall and at 102nd and F Streets and 11218 John Galt Blvd. The company also leases space in three office buildings across 108th Avenue from the headquarters site.
In all, the office campus will have about 2,000 full-time, part-time and contract employees, with room to add 400 more as the company grows. Altogether, its office space in the Old Mill area will total 685,000 square feet, more than the Woodmen Tower.
TD Ameritrade expects the building to earn a platinum Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design rating from the U.S. Green Building Council. The design features natural light, efficient windows and mechanical systems, nearby planted areas, recycled building materials, solar panels and other energy-saving elements.
The project boosts Omaha's construction industry.
Kiewit Building Group, the project manager, said the construction sector in Omaha had a 28 percent unemployment rate in March. This project will consume 900,000 hours of labor, or the equivalent of 433 people working for a full year.
Besides Kiewit, about 30 subcontractors will work at the site, with total peak employment between 400 and 450 people.
TD Ameritrade has about 5,200 employees nationwide, including more than 4,000 investment brokers.
The company reported record quarterly revenue on Tuesday, in part because it has been hiring more brokers who have left large brokerage firms, Tomczyk said. Hiring has occurred at the rate of more than one every working day.
The Omaha company offers support services to the advisers, who provide investment advice to clients and bring in more revenue and assets to manage.