Archive for Wednesday, February 6, 2008

LCDC goes virtual to promote Urban Hess

February 6, 2008

Soon the Leavenworth County Development Corp. and Port Authority will want companies to think a little more virtual and a little less reality when shopping for an adequate space in the Urban Hess business park.

The Port Authority formed a committee to answer the question, "What can we do to get people in buildings in Tonganoxie without having a building sit there for a long period of time?"

Christy Isaacs, economic development coordinator for Leavenworth County Development Corp., said an empty building like that would be "bad for the Port Authority and would be bad for the city of Tonganoxie."

So instead of having the empty building waiting for a buyer, the Port Authority will design three different types of buildings - 40,000 square feet, 80,000 square feet and 120,000 square feet, and put the designs and specifications online.

Along with a buyer being able to look at detailed plans and drawings of the buildings on the Web, the Port Authority also hopes to get all of the initial stages and permits ready so construction can start as soon as possible.

Isaacs said the building's construction cost will also be out to bid, and the plan is to get a contractor to maintain the bid price for three to four months.

"At that time we will go out and market the building as if it was standing up," Isaacs said. "What we hope this will do is not only bring us leads, but shorten the amount of time it takes to build that building."

Tonganoxie City Administrator Mike Yanez said many companies were looking for buildings in the 100,000-square-foot range.

He hopes the prospect of custom buildings will attract more companies to the city.

"This would require an understanding from the city that there will not be a building built immediately," Yanez said. "We will see what size bait will attract what kind of big fish and bring them to Tonganoxie."

Architect Bill Johnson's renderings show simple one level buildings to a two-story building that Johnson said could possibly be used as a corporate headquarters.

Isaacs said the three lots proposed in this program are about 5 acres each. The lots are Urban Hess 3, lots 1, 2 and 3. These lots are across the street from S &S Alloy Steel.

"I think this a great idea," Council member Steve Gumm said during the meeting. "In the past the city has committed funds just for the holding cost of paying the interest on spec buildings that weren't sold. This will basically allow us to contribute money to something that is real instead of just the holding cost."

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