Cargo Largo brings back building plans

By Mike Genet

Despite continued delays, Cargo Largo still plans to build a new facility just north of its Independence location on 35th Street. 

Cargo Largo’s approximately $40 million plan would consolidate its operations from six locations around the metro area into a new store, corporate headquarters and warehouse on currently vacant land west of Noland Road across from Truman High School. 

The first reading for a revised preliminary development plan took place at Monday’s City Council, and the council could vote on the plan on May 17. The Planning Commission unanimously approved the plan last month. 

When plans first went through City Hall in 2008, the subsequent recession shelved them. The city again approved plans in early 2019, but the “logistics of managing those facilities causes delays,” said Dan Jensen of Kessinger/Hunter, the project developer. “It really wasn’t an occurrence or event; it just didn’t work out to pull it together at the time.” 

Approval for the 2019 plan had expired, and Cargo Largo plans a larger building this time – about 12 percent larger at more than 500,000 square feet to accommodate continued e-commerce growth – necessitating a new project. 

“We think were’ going to get ‘er done this time,” Jensen told the Planning Commission. “Cargo largo is doing very good; e-commerce is exploding.” 

Cargo Largo owner Dee Pack said the company has more than 300 jobs and generates $10 million annually in taxable revenue at its Kansas City location, and those benefits ultimately would transfer to the consolidated Independence complex. 

“We first joined the Independence community 35 years ago, and at the time all of our business was in about half the current building. We’ve long had a dream of consolidating all our operations under one roof on this site, and we’re at a point where we do think it is viable.” 

Jensen told the commission the project is “heavily dependent” on some economic incentives, due in part to increasing costs in raw materials. Jensen later declined to specify what type of incentives Cargo Largo seeks, but Pack told the commission they have had ongoing discussions with the city about those incentives and anticipate a “positive outcome.” 

The project includes an extended and paved Weatherford Road between 31st and 35th streets, with most tracto- trailer traffic coming from 35th, and a new 33rd Street entrance from the railroad crossing that Union Pacific Railroad installed in 2008, directly across from the high school, in anticipation of this project. 

The current Cargo Largo building on 35th would later be repurposed, Pack said. Later construction could include a right turn lane at 33rd Street from southbound Noland Road if necessary, he said. 

If the project is approved again, construction could start before the end of 2021, according to city documents.