Greg Martinette
Guest Columnist
Southwest Johnson County EDC had a blockbuster first quarter with major project announcements from our partners in Edgerton and Gardner.
In Edgerton, the announcement that Amazon will bring 1,000 new full-time hourly jobs to a new warehouse and distribution facility at Logistics Park Kansas City drew national media attention to the region.
LPKC and Northpoint Development continued the momentum as construction began on two speculative buildings totaling 1.7 million square feet of new warehouse and distribution space, a sign that demand for a Southwest Johnson County location continues to be strong.
In addition, Gardner Mayor Chris Morrow announced plans to move forward with a 300-acre development plan at the southwest corner of I-35 at 175th Street. The city will partner with Day3 LLC and Van Trust Real Estate on the mixed-use retail and industrial development project.
Speaking of retail development, a top priority for Southwest Johnson County EDC in 2016 is to sell our region to top site location decision-makers, with a specific focus on retail recruitment. I am looking forward to marketing the region to retail, restaurant and hotel site selectors at the upcoming International Council of Shopping Centers convention in May 22-25 in Las Vegas. ICSC is the biggest shopping center and retail convention in the world, with more than 36,000 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors.
Business retention and expansion efforts on behalf of the Southwest County EDC also were active in the first quarter, with the overwhelming majority of companies visited indicating they had plans to expand to some degree in Southwest Johnson County over the next 18-24 months. Krista Klaus conducted on-site retention visits with ITW Labels in Gardner; Mid-States Materials LLC in Edgerton; as well as Kerry Ingredients, Stenner Pump, Stouse and Unilever in New Century AirCenter. Five of the six companies that Klaus visited indicated they had plans to expand either facilities, product lines or workforce in 2016 and 2017. One company said expansion through consolidation was a strong possibility.
Finally, I want to thank our partners in the City of Gardner, the City of Edgerton and New Century AirCenter for your ongoing support of the Southwest Johnson County EDC in 2016.