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24-acre development planned in Willard

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The city of Willard may look a bit different at this point next year. 

A 24-acre development, called Gauge Crossing, is in the works in southeast Willard, near Mid-Missouri Bank and New Life Baptist Church.

Gauge Crossing is a partnership between Matt Kelley of Freedom Bank of Southern Missouri, Donald Hancock of the Hancock Co. LLC and Justin Hayden of Hayden Machinery LLC. They’re organized as ATM Square LLC.

The development plan has 16 acres of commercial in the middle of single-family housing on one side and mixed-use on the other. Kelley said 22 homes between 1,000 and 1,200 square feet apiece are planned.

“We’re doing something different for this area – a pocket neighborhood,” he said. “They’re going to be smaller but very high-end type of homes.”

With price points under $189,000, Kelley said the target market of the homes is young professionals and baby boomers. Design features call for use of reclaimed barnwood and brick or stone exteriors, he said.

The developers intend to start dirt work this summer, with homes available for sale by next spring.

The mixed-use portion will comprise 12,000 square feet, half of which is dedicated for retail tenants. 

“We’re going to build a retail facility and do some loft apartments,” Kelley said. “We’ll either have six 1,000-square-foot units or five 1,200-square-foot units.”

The partners are in the final steps of obtaining construction documents, and then they’ll accept private bids for 30-45 days for general contracting work. Bids on the public improvements will follow, Kelley said. An expansion of Proctor Road would connect all three portions of the development. 

“Once our public improvements are in, we’ll be moving to the residential portion first, and then when that’s completed we’ll move to the commercial part of the development,” Kelley said. 

Kelley didn’t have an estimate for total construction costs, but said the public improvements would range between $600,000 and $750,000.

Also starting in Willard this summer is an $18.6 million road widening of Highway 160 and roughly $1 million in road improvements to Miller Road, according to city officials.

Willard’s population has grown 2.6% since 2010 to 5,426 residents, according to census data.


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