Incentives for Cargo Largo project

Mike Genet

Although the developer for the Cargo Largo's planned new facility in Independence seeks a hefty incentive package, that proposal so far has passed the scrutiny of City Hall, and the City Council is scheduled to vote on the matter next week.  

The project, pegged at about $67 million according to city documents, is meant consolidate Cargo Largo's operations into one facility across from Truman High School, just north of the current Independence store on 35th Street. Pending approval, construction could start by the end of the year. 

In addition to retaining about 100 jobs, the new facility would mean more than 300 additional jobs, Cargo Largo owner Dee Pack said previously. 

Tom Scannell, the city’s director of community development, told the council Monday that requested 20-year property tax abatement under Chapter 353 of state statutes is 85 percent for the first five years, 84 percent for the next five years and 50 percent for the final 10 years. Chapter 353 allows for property tax abatement when developing blighted areas. 

The developer, Dan Jensen of Kessinger/Hunter, also seeks reimbursement from new revenues from the half-cent city street sales tax, reimbursement from new revenues from the three-fourths-cent Noland Road CID sales tax and 50 percent reimbursement from 1 percent general sales tax revenues – all in connection with about $3.4 million in projected street improvement costs. Pack has said the project hinged greatly on incentives, given rising construction costs. 

The Independence Economic Development and Incentives Commission, a volunteer advisory body consisting of citizens and representatives from taxing jurisdictions affected by a redevelopment project, unanimously approved the  incentives last month.  

According to city documents, Independence is projected to collect more than $680,000 in net new “payments in lieu of taxes” and more than $15.4 million in net new sales taxes over the 20-year course of the Chapter 353 plan. The Independence School District would receive far more in PILOTS through its portion of the property tax assessment.  

The amount of the project paid for by incentives falls within the 20 percent guideline under the city's economic development policy, according to city documents. 

Tom Waters, owner of Corporate Copy Print and past char of the Independence Economic Development Council, told the council the Cargo Largo project has “many components that we strive for in economic development” and that the EDC endorses the project.  

The project, Waters told the council, means “jobs, investment, improving quality of life, adding sales tax revenue for the community. I think most of us would agree Cargo Largo has been a great company in our community for many years.” 

With a $67 million investment and hundreds of jobs, “Those projects are hard to come by,” Waters said. 

In addition to actual facilities, the Cargo Largo project comes with millions of dollars in various street improvements. 

According to city documents, the railroad crossing that Union Pacific Railroad installed in 2008 in anticipation of this project, directly across from Truman High School, would become a new 33rd Street. That will be the primary access to the site, with a traffic signal timed 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 said earlier this year. Later construction could include a right turn lane at 33rd Street from southbound Noland Road, if necessary, he said.