Archive for Tuesday, February 10, 2015

WestLink Business Center expanding ahead of schedule

The WestLink Business Center off K-7 is the proposed home of Mile Hi Specialty Foods.

The WestLink Business Center off K-7 is the proposed home of Mile Hi Specialty Foods.

February 10, 2015

The site plan for WestLink Business Center at the corner of 43rd Street and Powell Drive.

The site plan for WestLink Business Center at the corner of 43rd Street and Powell Drive.

— The WestLink Business Center is expanding, and expanding quickly.

The developers of the business center off Kansas Highway 7 in Shawnee received approval on Monday from the city industrial revenue bonds worth up to $20 million to finance two new 170,000 square-foot industrial facilities next to their current building.

The additions to the business center will meet the demand of businesses looking for space in Shawnee, according to Shawnee's Economic Development Council Executive Director Andrew Nave.

"It's amazing the number of calls we get when we have space to show and since the current building is full, having these new buildings is a huge need we have," Nave said.

The current building, which broke ground about 13 months ago and chose to come to Shawnee following the approval of the Tax Abatement Program was originally scheduled to request revenue bonds for the next buildings by mid 2015. The first building reached its capacity for tenants sooner than expected and now Nave said the developers are requesting the expansion about six months ahead of schedule.

The Economic Development Council conducted a cost-benefit analysis for the nearly $20 million in revenue bonds to be issued by the city and estimated that the city would receive more than $1.45 million in new city taxes and revenue from the expansion. The expansion is estimated to create 50 direct new hires in the first year in addition to 38 indirect new hires.

The bonds, which are a form of tax exemptions to help the developers pay for portions of the cost of acquisition of the land and construction, are expected to be payed back with a two year period, according to Nave. The City Council approved the bonds unanimously.

Nave said the competition for industrial space in western Johnson County is growing and the approval of the bonds puts Shawnee in a good place to compete with places like Lenexa and Edwardsville, which have each begun construction on similar projects.

Airtex, Inc, the developer of WestLink Business Center, plans to build the two buildings over a two year period. The first new building is already about 75 percent leased, Nave said.

The two new buildings would be the second and third of seven total proposed buildings on the site.

The currently operating building is fully occupied by four tenants. Mile High Specialty Foods was the first tenant, followed by American Box Company, which now occupies 90,000 square feet of the space, Nuts for Wildlife and National Waste Consultants, LLC.

"We were very pleased with how (the first building) was fully leased in only 10 months," Nave said.

Mile Hi Specialty Foods is a distribution, warehousing, storage and local delivery services company that serves more than 1,000 restaurants in 17 states. Some of the restaurant chains it services include Starbucks, Chipotle, Noodles and Company, Quiznos and Einstein’s Bagels. Nuts for Wildlife is a company dedicated to the cleaning, separating, roasting, and dicing of all types of nuts, fruits, and seeds used in the production of custom bird and wildlife feeds. American Box Company produces boxes and National Waste Consultants are an industrial recycling company.


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