Cargo Largo project brings hope for jobs
At 524,000 square feet, Cargo Largo’s planned new facility – meant to consolidate its operations in Independence – would be more than six times the size of its current facility in the city.
The Independence City Council could vote Monday to approve the company’s latest preliminary development plan, though some other steps remain before the project goes through.
The new facility would be in the large open space directly north of the current store on 35th Street across the railroad tracks from Noland Road. Among other facilities, Cargo Largo has warehouses in Kansas City for eBay pickup and bid sales. By putting retail, wholesale and headquarters operations all in one location, Cargo Largo president/CEO Dee Pack said, his company’s 300 jobs and $10 million annual revenue in Kansas City would transfer to Independence.
Before construction permits are issued, Cargo Largo must negotiate a development agreement with the city dealing with streets and traffic. Pack and developer Dan Jensen of Kessinger/Hunter said the company also plans to seek some sort of economic incentive, though what exactly that would be has not been made public. The project area is part of an active tax-assisted district.
Jensen declined to specify those incentives, and Tom Scannell, Independence’s community development director, said Cargo Largo had not yet applied for incentives. An application would go to the city’s Economic Development and Incentive Commission for review and recommendation before going to the City Council.
Pack told the Planning Commission last month they have had ongoing discussions with the city about those incentives and anticipate a “positive outcome.”
According to city documents, the railroad crossing Union Pacific Railroad installed in 2008, directly across from Truman High School, in anticipation of this project, would become a new 33rd Street. That will be the primary access to the site, with a traffic signal installed to time with train crossings.
The project also includes an extended and paved Weatherford Road between 31st and 35th streets, with most tractor-trailer traffic coming from 35th. A new westbound right-turn lane would be constructed on 35th from the existing second lane.
The current Cargo Largo building on 35th would later be repurposed, Pack told the Planning Commission. Later construction could include a right turn lane at 33rd Street from southbound Noland Road, if necessary, he said.
Cargo Largo first had plans go through City Hall in 2008, but the recession that year shelved them. The city again approved plans in early 2019, but the “logistics of managing those facilities causes delays,” Dan Jensen said. “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 than a few years ago to accommodate continued e-commerce growth – which necessitated a new project p