TD Ameritrade Chief Executive Fred Tomczyk said Wednesday that the company's energy-efficient new headquarters cost $250 million for the land and construction, a headquarters the company acknowledged was being sought by other cities.
The employer of 2,000 people in the metro area started out expecting to build the new office building and lease the land, Tomczyk said in an interview after a ribbon-cutting attended by Gov. Dave Heineman and Mayor Jean Stothert.
Later, the decision was made to acquire the land and own the whole project, Tomczyk said. That boosted the final price from original estimates. Tomczyk said construction costs still came in under budget.
“It is good for our clients, good for our shareholders and good for the City of Omaha,” Tomczyk said of the new building.
Employees began moving into the new building from offices scattered throughout the area in April. TD Ameritrade said it began outgrowing its offices about five years ago and started looking for more space at a centralized location.
Omaha was not the only option considered by the company, formed here in 1975 to offer stock trades via telephone — and later by personal computer — at discounts to the commissions charged by full-service brokers.
“We did have other options both inside and outside of Omaha,” TD Ameritrade Chief Financial Officer Bill Gerber said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Tomczyk later declined to name the other contenders, saying none of their recruiting efforts was particularly aggressive. The company has 6 million account holders and handles about 400,000 trades a day.
The new building houses 1,300 of the online brokerage's 2,000 metro-area employees, with the remainder in a cluster of buildings across the street. The new offices make extensive use of energy-efficient lighting, solar power and water conservation techniques.
Heineman called the new building one of the “most energy efficient and inspirational office towers in America.” Stothert said it sets “a new standard” in capturing rainwater for later use and in utilizing solar power to heat it.
The company said annual operating costs will be about half of what they were before. Construction began in July 2010. The architect was HOK. Omaha's Kiewit Building Group was the general contractor. TD Ameritrade's previous offices were leased, not owned.
TD Ameritrade said last week that it had a $184 million profit in the second quarter; shares have risen about 80 percent in the past year. Wall Street analysts forecast rising earnings for the company, from an expected increase in interest rates, which will enhance TD Ameritrade's own investment income.
“It is a perfect world for us right now,” Tomczyk said.