An overhead view of site of planned Fenton Logistics Park.
ST. LOUIS – KP Development, a St. Louis-based build-to-suit developer, says it has closed on the purchase of the former Chrysler assembly plant site in Fenton, Mo., and is prepared to move forward with the proposed Fenton Logistics Park.
The sale of the last of the many Chrysler plants closed during the auto maker’s bankruptcy represents the potential for a huge development — 2.5 million square feet of space for companies and end users over the next five years, representing an investment that will likely top half-a-billion dollars in all and bring thousands of new jobs to the region, the developers say.
Formerly known as Koman Properties, KP Development today focuses on development, construction and project management for single-tenant projects, specializing in industrial and office projects across the country.
Over the past year, as it worked closely with the trustees on due diligence for the Chrysler site, the KP Development team said it has talked with dozens of companies interested in locating or expanding into the proposed logistics park.
Fenton’s recent approval of the planned industrial development zoning makes it possible to now provide potential companies with a better sense of how the site will be transformed to contain a mix of industrial, office, distribution and some retail components; and interest is high.
“The local market and region is short in industrial, light manufacturing, distribution and office product, and that deficiency is even more pronounced in the southern portion of the metropolitan area, where the development of the Fenton Logistics Park will really fill a void,” said Terry Barnes, president of KP Development. “We have secured interest from regional and national players, and are working on finalizing five company-driven projects, with two of those on target to close within the next 60 – 90 days, paving the way for 300 jobs in the short term and up to 1,500 potential jobs within 24 months.”
Logistically, these initial projects could be constructed simultaneously with the first phase of the Fenton Logistics Park infrastructure. Preliminary site work could get underway before the end of the year, with an official groundbreaking to take place in early 2015. The initial end users are anticipated to be operational in the fourth quarter of 2015.
But there are some hurdles still to clear. Since securing the option for the 295-acre site in September of 2013, KP Development has determined that significant grading and major manipulation of the site will be required, including removing thick concrete slabs and asphalt parking lots covering over 9,000,000 square feet, roughly 80 percent of the property. The Fenton Logistics Park will also require over two miles of new streets and roadways and all new utilities infrastructure to serve the anticipated companies and businesses.
“Given the complexity of preparing the site to welcome prospective businesses, we continue to work with the City of Fenton, St. Louis County and the state of Missouri to secure the subsidies that will be required to replace obsolete infrastructure, so that we can move forward in a timely manner with this unique opportunity to recreate jobs and renew an area where thousands once worked,” added Scott Haley, senior vice president of KP Development.
KP Development believes multiple factors will contribute to the success of the project, which is contingent upon the approval of state and local tax incentives. Timing is one, as the company prepares to move forward when there are clear signs of an improving national and regional economy, and many companies are evaluating the St. Louis market for new and expanding options. Location is also key. Bordered by I-44 and strategically situated near the I-44 and I-270 interchange, while also abutting existing rail access, the site of the future Fenton Logistics Park provides a convenient, easy-to-access Midwest location, linked to a strong and existing workforce. As the national economy rebounds and the local market continues to gain strength fueling growth in the demand for warehouse space, the Fenton Logistics Park will provide new and expanding companies opportunities to establish roots for the next several decades.
“This project brings with it new jobs and economic opportunity to the former Chrysler site,” said Denny Coleman, CEO, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. “KP Development is a high quality local developer with the experience and assets to successfully redevelop this site.”
“The City of Fenton is excited that KP Development has moved forward on purchasing the former Chrysler Assembly Plant property after five years of it sitting idle,” noted Fenton Mayor Mike Polizzi. “The long-awaited redevelopment will benefit the City of Fenton, the entire St Louis metropolitan area and even the State of Missouri. The City, the Board of Aldermen and KP Development dedicated many months and dozens of meetings taking the Fenton Logistics Park development proposal through the City process. Having a highly experienced St. Louis developer leading the effort is a plus for everyone.”
Over the past three years, KP Development has co-managed and developed over $275 million of office/industrial buildings for Fortune 500 companies. This represents more than 2.5 million square feet in more than a dozen states. Company principals hope to utilize these corporate relationships to make St. Louis their next new location or home.
“KP Development is excited to now be part of the rejuvenation of a piece of ground that represents an important phase in the history of St. Louis’ economy,” said Haley. “We expect that our vision, development expertise and significant investment will be the catalyst for decades of new and sustained job creation.”
NAI DESCO represented the sale of former Chrysler site on behalf of seller, RJM I, LLC, as liquidation trustee for Old Carco Liquidation Trust (the successor to Chrysler LLC and its affiliated chapter 11 debtors). Associated Bank is financing KP Development’s acquisition of the site. For more information about Fenton Logistics Park, visit www.kpdevelopment.com.
KP Development is a St. Louis-based real estate development firm providing full service build-to-suit development services for office, industrial, and specialty projects, with a focus on meeting the needs of high-credit quality, single tenants with 10 or more years on an existing lease. In addition to Barnes and Haley, real estate development veteran Jim Koman also holds an advisory role with the company, serving as KP Development’s Chairman. To learn more about KP Development, call Terry Barnes (314) 261-7349 or Scott Haley (314) 261-7352 or visit www.kpdevelopment.com.