Danedri Thompson
“Project Tango,” “Project Prairie,” and “Project Dakota” could land in a nearby city in the next few years. That’s the word from Tom Reiderer, president of the Southwest Johnson County Development Corporation.
Reiderer doesn’t have a crystal ball, but he reported to his members an uptick in interest from businesses hoping to make southwest Johnson County home in 2011. Specifically, Reiderer said distribution companies may be looking to build here in the future.
“What we’ve seen over the past several months have been projects that have been larger distribution projects,” he said.
Each potential project is assigned a code name, and Reiderer may not know exactly which company is examining the area, when he receives a request for information about southwest Johnson County. Instead, they’re given code names.
Project Tango is seeking a distribution site, that much Reiderer knows.
“And it is a large one,” he said.
Some code-named projects become a local reality, as DeLong Company did earlier this year. Last June, the exporter of containerized grain, closed on the purchase of 8.7 acres within the intermodal logistics hub.
Other times, the projects decide to locate elsewhere.
A site in southwest Johnson County was one of four sites considered by a company looking for a location in the Kansas City Metro earlier this year. Officials looked at more than 20 sites and narrowed their search to four – including one in this part of the county.
“When it came down to the final two sites, we weren’t in,” Reiderer said. “(The company) wanted to be in a more rural area.”
That company’s final sites are further south, near Ottawa.
Reiderer said he anticipates 2012 will be a good year.
In his mind, that means at least two large projects announcing they plan to call southwest Johnson County home this year.
“I’m talking about the large distribution facilities,” he said.
He listed the Coleman warehouse as an example.
With the intermodal set to open in September 2013, Reiderer predicts a boom in industrial growth for this area.
“There’s a lot of pent up demand right now,” Reiderer said. “What we had in 2011, you’ve got a lot of companies that have come in and looked. They know this want to be in this market; they know they want to produce in the Midwest, but corporately, they’re really hanging back to see what’s going to happen with regulations and with banking.”
As those concerns shake out, Reiderer predicts this area will see some benefits of growth.
“My prediction is we’ll have a good year,” he said. “I think our economy will start getting better.”