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A 615,600 sq. ft. facility housing manufacturing, distribution and call center operations, currently known as “Project School” is coming to Gardner. It will be located at the Midwest Commerce Center next to Coleman.
“After all our planning efforts, we are now realizing the fruits of our labor as businesses and developers continue to invest private money into the City of Gardner,” said Cheryl Harrison-Lee, city administrator. “Through Project School, the city can anticipate additional full-time and part-time jobs, which will ultimately influence increased housing and retail development.”
When a prospect brings a project forward to several communities for consideration they use a code name to protect the business from fluctuations in the market place, said Harrison-Lee. The name of the business becomes public upon the Issuance of IRB’s which is when negotiations between the lessor and business have been completed.
“Project School” will cost an estimated $38,000,000 dollars to construct, and will eventually employ approximately 250 people by the end of the first three years of operation. This will be the second project located at the Midwest Commerce Center location by L.S. Commercial Realty, near Coleman.
At the council Sept. 18 meeting, the city council adopted resolution #1973 unanimously. It will serve as the Master Resolution of Intent for the issuance of Industrial Revenue bonds for Midwest Commerce Center. Final approval will come at a city council meeting in March.
When the Midwest Commerce Center industrial park was created in 2008, the city assisted the property owner by approving a Master Resolution of Intent.  This document spells out the responsibilities of both the property owner and the city in regards to how the property will be developed and under what financial controls. Over time these Resolutions are modified as property is sold, or state law or city policy changes. These changes affect the Resolution of Intent and the timeframe that the resolution operates under.
The current Master Resolution had to be modified as both city policy and state law had changed in regards to the tax abatement procedure, and the required collection statewide of the Unified School District Capital Outlay Mill Levy. Industrial Revenue Bonds have no effect on taxpayers’ personal property taxes. The bonds are the responsibility of the business to payoff. Gardner is the conduit by federal law to facilitate this type of financing, according to Daneeka Marshall-Oquendo, public information officer.