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  • Nathan Duvall

Hallmark: Are you doing okay? Seriously.

Hallmark is privately owned, so we don’t know their financial position. But to put it bluntly, from several indirect indications, one of KC’s few fortune 500 companies is not doing very well. Yes they report $4B in revenue, but against what overhead? How many of you have been inside the offices lately? There are vacant cube farms and maybe whole floors appear to be dark? There is an effort to hide it, but the neighbors’ empty garage/lot count confirms. Thousands of empty parking places that once meant jobs for Kansas Citians.

The Star mentioned Hallmark's position in support of Fidelity Security Life's tax boondogggle as inconsistent and puzzling. Well, not if you consider the larger context. They, and presumably the KC Chamber, lobbied vigorously behind the scenes. This deal will enhance the value of all those empty parking lots, for the next Big Sale, helping sustain Hallmark’s survival. For a while.

Does this justify what happened? No way. But this might help explain the odd flip of a few of the more-conscious Council members. Is Hallmark on life support? We think not yet, but everyone can see they aren’t selling only greeting cards to stay in business. It’s land - they need to make it prime real estate. And a big, fat luxury office building boosts the value of all their now-empty parking lots. If it wasn't the rich taking from the the poor it would be sad. But it is what it is.

Corporate welfare Crown Center style.

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