Archive for Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Company abandons plans for rural land

August 3, 2005

A Johnson County company has abandoned plans to construct a distribution center on 144 acres east of Tonganoxie along U.S. Highway 24-40.

The firm, Hodgdon Powder Company, had obtained a special-use permit from the county in December 2002 that allowed them to build a distribution center at the northeast corner of 24-40 and 198th Street

The company distributes black powder and smokeless propellants for sport shooting.

But the firm recently changed directions and constructed the distribution center in Herington, where it has had a manufacturing plant since 1978. Herington is about 20 miles south of Junction City.

"We just got a very favorable deal, lease-wise, and it was the way to go," said Doug Delsemme, Hodgdon's vice president and general counsel. ''... It's very isolated, which is, in a way, good for our business."

One stumbling block in building on the 24-40 site, he said, was the Kansas Department of Transportation.

"That was the biggest problem with that property," Delsemme said. "The requirements of KDOT on that acceleration and deceleration was really expensive, and building a road in there. It was going to be a big expense."

The company had planned to use only about one-fifth of the acreage for its distribution center, while the remaining land would have remained in agricultural use.

The tract on 24-40 continues to be owned by Bob and J.B. Hodgdon, who had intended to lease it back to the powder company.

"Of course, we bought it with the full intention of moving our distribution center there," Bob Hodgdon said.

"We really haven't come across a plan yet, to be honest. We're just holding it. We haven't really placed it for sale. We have a lot of faith in Tonganoxie, and see a lot of growth there and think we've made a good investment, regardless. So we're happy with the property."

Currently, Hodgdon said, many of his hours are spent on determining the future of a 160-acre tract in Shawnee where the company formerly had its distribution center. Company officials said they had wanted to move from that site because nearby residential development had meant that site had become too valuable.

"It's ready to develop," Hodgdon said, adding that the site has been cleaned up and earned approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"We're looking at all options right now. We might sell it and keep back a part as part of a partnership to development."

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