The site of the old General Motors assembly plant in the Fairfax area of Kansas City, Kan., is an attractive draw for intense industrial and manufacturing uses, its developers said Thursday.
Speaking at the monthly luncheon of the Fairfax Industrial Association, NorthPoint Development COO Chad Meyer and Mark Fountain of Jones Lang LaSalle laid out several advantages that make the $40 million project unique.
For one thing, the property is in an M-3 zone, meaning heavy industrial users can move straight to permitting without going through a drawn-out planning and zoning process. The tax structure in Kansas, with its exemptions for business equipment and machinery, encourages smaller buildings with more intense uses, compared with the Horizons project across the river in Riverside, which has more light industrial space like warehouses.
The shape of the 75-acre site, at the north end of Fairfax next to the Missouri River, is also a plus.
“The big boys want a nice rectangle, and that’s what we’ve got here,” Fountain said.
Union Pacific Railway Co. has agreed to build rail connections to the site, which will host about 1 million square feet of space. Fountain said many industrial properties promise rail spurs, but the railroads are reluctant to actually deliver one or two cars to any one destination with any regularity.
The difference here, he said, is the proximity of the current GM plant, which means rail traffic will be assured five to seven days a week.
The site is part of the RACER Trust, which was set up in GM’s bankruptcy to redevelop 89 parcels the company owned in 14 states, representing the nation’s third-biggest industrial portfolio at 50 million square feet.
The trust’s manager, Bruce Rasher, said Thursday that in contrast to the relatively handling of properties in Chrysler’s bankruptcy, the GM plan was to deliberately develop the properties, not simply liquidate them.
That included a $500 million capital infusion to address environmental issues.
NorthPoint’s Meyer played down any potential cleanup problems at the site. It has two small “hotspots” where motor oil and engine part cleaners were deposited over time 10 to 15 feet underground, he said, but it should take only a few weeks to excavate those areas and remove the contamination.
Investors in the project took out a 20-year, $25 million insurance policy to cover any unexpected environmental issues that may pop up.
The developers said companies will have the option to own their buildings or lease space that is built to suit their operations.
ARTICLE BY: BUSINESS JOURNAL – PAUL KOEPP
Date: Thursday, April 18, 2013