A team of consultants anticipates between 12 million and 16 million square feet of warehouse development in southwest Johnson County related to the intermodal. However, it may be years, decades even, before all of the development arrives.
Public officials met with the team of consultants as part of a joint planning project, which includes Gardner, Edgerton, Johnson County and the Kansas Department of Transportation. As part of the ongoing project, a team of consultants is studying potential land use and growth in southwest Johnson County, infrastructure needs, project phasing, an active transportation concept plan for the county’s park system and the protection of natural resources including Hillsdale Lake and county parks land.
Last week, consultants presented proposed design plans to a gathering of approximately 50 public officials including Gardner and Edgerton council members and planning commissioners from the county and both cities, school officials and county commissioners.
Consultants gave a lengthy presentation of four land development proposals on Feb. 27 followed by briefer presentations on Feb. 28 to the general public.
“None of these plans – they’re all kind of theoreticals,” Marty Shukert, a planning consultant, told public officials. “We’re testing ideas.”
Consultants anticipate that warehouse construction will be equally distributed between the Allen Group’s site adjacent to the intermodal and other sites in Gardner and Edgerton and southwest Johnson County.
They presented four plans, including a low-warehouse buildout plan; a high warehouse buildout plan; a mid-level warehouse buildout plan with a focus on the Gardner Road interchange; and a high warehouse buildout plan with development north of U.S. 56 Highway.
As part of their efforts, Shukert said the team of consultants studied comparable intermodals, including facilities in Elwood, Ill.; Denver; Alliance, Texas; and Dallas.
Shukert said intermodal facilities typically spur employment growth of one employee per every 225,000 square-feet of warehouse space.
“Warehousing is relatively space intensive, but sparse in employees,” Shukert told the crowd.
The Elwood, Ill., facility most closely resembles the anticipated Edgerton project, Shukert said. That facility, now in operation for 10 years, currently has 7.5 million square-feet of warehouse development.
“It’s very clear to us that we are not going to see tens of millions of warehousing suddenly appear,” Shukert said. We’re looking for kind of a long haul.”
Locally, the Coleman warehouse is one million square feet, and Edgerton city administrator Beth Linn said the DeLong Company, a grain exporter, has announced plans to build a 40,000 square-foot warehouse at the intermodal site.
He estimates that in addition to warehouse space, Gardner and Edgerton will need approximately 2,400 acres of new residential development to account for the 19,000 new area residents expected due to regular growth and the 6,000 new residents spurred by the intermodal development.
“It is not our intent to pick a plan,” Thomas Dow, a KDOT planner, said.
However, Kyle Anderson, the planning project manager, said the goal is to pull together model ordinances that allow the cities and county to work together on area growth spurred by the intermodal.
“In all these cases, we’re projecting a future that we can’t really know,” Shukert said. “…The plan has to be flexible enough to support alternate futures.”