Independence leaders are planning a new business park in the Little Blue River valley with the hope of attracting high-paying jobs. A formal announcement could come within weeks.
The 90-acre site is at the northeast corner of Little Blue Parkway and R.D. Mize Road. That’s just north of the city’s most vibrant and visible commercial area – 39th Street, Jackson Drive, Valley View Drive, Bass Pro Drive – and in the valley where the city has pinned high hopes for future growth, homes in particular.
“This is a key entryway into the Little Blue valley,” said Tom Lesnak, president of the Independence Council for Economic Development.
The new business park would have space for light industry and offices, as well as some retail space.
“It’s small lot sizes, small buildings,” Lesnak said.
Officials also are looking at putting up what developers call a spec building – that is, build it in hopes it will quickly be sold or leased – for manufacturing.
“That is a hot market for real-estate investors,” Lesnak said, adding that across the metro area right now such space is being filled up even before construction is done. It’s not been decided if a spec building would be paid for privately or might involve some public money.
The site is a mile and a half from Interstate 70, and there’s ready access.
“A lot of the infrastructure is already there,” Lesnak said.
Location has been an issue for a separate facility, the 360-acre Independence Business Park at Missouri 78 and Missouri 7, that the EDC announced seven years ago. It’s geared toward larger warehousing or manufacturing operations and has attracted no tenants, though Lesnak said some companies have indicated interest.
“We’re still marketing that as a large site,” he said.
That site is farther north into the valley, five and a half miles from I-70
“That is the challenge with that site,” Lesnak said.