Blue Springs hopes spec building can attract business

By Mike Genet

A proposed $30 million development project in northeast Blue Springs, with a speculative industrial and warehouse building of nearly 600,000 square feet, could begin by the end of the year if plans proceed through City Hall.

The project would be funded with Chapter 100 industrial bonds that the city would not back, though the developer, Hunter Harris of the commercial real estate firm Flint Development, is asking the city for 10 years of full tax abatement and a sales tax exemption on materials.

The building would be east of the Faurecia plant and just north of the Camping World RV dealer, off Jefferson Street and just north of Interstate 70 at the border with Grain Valley. Depending on the number and type of businesses that developers hope to attract, Harris said the project could lead to about 240 jobs. 

A council majority Monday approved a non-binding memorandum of understanding and a funding agreement, though the matter still must go before the Planning Commission for rezoning and then come back to the City Council for final approval. If approved, Harris said, grading could start in December, and he hopes the building could be “ready for tenants this time next year.”

Although it would be a speculative building, Harris said he believes plenty of possible tenants would consider the ready-made space with three-story high ceilings, and they can’t use shorter, existing buildings. The proposed structure could be divided as needed. 

“We view this as an opportunity to attract tenants who can’t locate here,” Harris said. 

“It could be as few as one (business); that would be a good day,” Harris said, “but the likely number is between two and four.”

Harris said the project would require some improvements to Jefferson Street east of Faurecia, for which the city would pay about $1.5 million, though developers would put in a public north-south road off Jefferson.

The tax abatement, Harris said, would offer an “even playing field” with what other cities in the metro area would likely offer.

Because the developer would buy the bonds, Sid Douglas of firm Gilmore Bell, the city’s bond counsel said, “No credit of the city would be at risk if the project were to fail or have other problems.”

The public hearing on the project is on the council’s Oct. 19 meeting.