Moving out from under the umbrella

Protection One moves corporate staff out of Westar Energy’s Topeka-based headquarters
Sunday, August 1, 2004

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Seven months after Westar Energy sold its stake in Protection One to Quadrangle Group, the alarm company is moving out of its former owner’s headquarters.

Protection One has signed a three-year, renewable lease at the I-70 Business Center, an 88,000-square-foot facility that most recently housed a Tanger Outlet Mall. Protection One will take up approximately 17,000-square-feet of prime, corner space in the newly converted center.

“We believe this location will serve us very well into the future,” said Robin Lampe, director of corporate communications at Protection One, “and that relocating to Lawrence will allow us to inject a new culture into our corporate office, providing us a fresh start from the days under Westar ownership.”

The relocation assists the company with moving further away from its Westar-managed past - a time when the company accumulated more than $500 million in debt during the acquisition craze of the late 1990s. The company has stopped short of filing for Chapter 11 protection and is currently involved with discussions with credit holders on how to alleviate the burden.

Protection One’s new location, which is comparable in size to the company’s previous office, will provide ample room for the company’s current staff of 65, with square footage for other additions to staff.

“There is room to add future staff at our new location,” Lampe said, “including several sales position to market our services to the Lawrence area.”

All departments of Protection One’s corporate staff will relocate to Lawrence, which is located roughly 30 minutes from the previous location in Topeka, Kan. Only the company’s 15-person local-branch staff will remain in Topeka, which is not located in the Westar complex.

The I-70 Business Center is located off an exit on the I-70 Turnpike and is now 70 percent full after the signing of Protection One to its lease roster. Samih Staitieh, a partner in the 1-70 Business Center, said the building’s location is what attracts businesses.

“The center is a prime location because of its access to the I-70 Interstate and its close proximity to Kansas City and Topeka,” Staitieh said.

Staitieh said officials in the Lawrence area have been supportive of the company’s move to the suburb and hope it will bring additional employment opportunities to the city of 80,000.

“The reaction of the city and its business community has been highly positive since the announcement,” he said. “Protection One will be a good addition to the center and the city.”

Lampe agreed, also noting that the company and its corporate staff are looking forward to making a fresh start in Lawrence.

“Following the sale of the company and now looking to the future, we plan to address our debt levels,” Lampe said, “and start a new chapter in the company’s story.”