Jamestown Plaza in Rogersville has a new lease on life.
The longtime vacant strip center once a commercial centerpiece to a 200-acre planned development in the early 2000s is showing signs of tenant activity.
David Clouse of Clouse Motor Co. LLC purchased the property on the west side of town along U.S. Highway 60 earlier this year and has secured six tenants.
“When we bought this, we were almost overwhelmed with the idea and thought of trying to fill this up, and now looking back in just a few months, we’re wondering who else is going to come in,” Clouse said.
The tenant list comprises The Source Ministry, Storytime Coffee Co., The Story Church Inc., Capstone Insurors Inc., his own DS Clouse Enterprises LLC, an office for Light The Way Ministry music festival and a multipurpose facility.
Out of the 11 units, four are completed and occupied, Clouse said.
Clouse bought the 203 S. Jamestown Blvd. property in February for undisclosed terms from Johnny Damon, an ex-Major League Baseball player whose wife, Michelle, is from Rogersville. That month, a deed of trust in Clouse’s name for $103,000 was filed for that address with the Greene County recorder’s office.
Clouse said Michelle’s father, Steve Mangan, was the local contact for the purchase.
Mangan’s company, Queen City Investment and Development LLC, built the plaza in 2009 and put it up for sale for $900,000, in 2015, when it had a single tenant, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
“It was what we felt like was a good deal,” Clouse said of the center which cost roughly $2.2 million to construct.
Clouse is investing $250,000 in the property, for both the purchase and renovations. He’s hired Nixa-based Cardoza Construction LLC for framing and drywall work.
The multipurpose space, Clouse said, will be used as a church sanctuary for startup churches, a banquet facility and event center.
Currently, only three more units are available to lease, Clouse said, at a cost of $1,500 per month for a 1,500-square-foot unit. One of the three units may already be spoken for.
“Another entity has first right of refusal to another unit, and they have already said they wanted it,” Clouse said. “Professional businesses and/or ministry businesses is what we’re looking for mainly.”
The event center, coffee shop and the church facilities, Clouse said, are scheduled to be finished by early spring.
The Story Church will seat 215 in its 17,100-square-foot spot.
“We loved the idea of new life coming in there and restoring a dream,” said Chris Ballard, pastor of Story Church, which currently meets at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame in Springfield.
The church signed a lease for three of the Jamestown units and will have five total units available for Sunday worship services, Ballard said.
The two additional spaces will be for Clouse’s The Honor Company Event Center, which is still being permitted.
The Story Church has a contract to use the event center on Sundays, and Ballard said the church will operate Storytime Coffee Monday through Saturday.
“We hope to utilize that for a gathering space for the community,” he said.
Rogersville on the rise
The timing was right, Clouse said, for development in the Rogersville area.
“Many, many rooftops are going in around here and that’s going to call on more retail, and more retail will bring in more tax revenue. So it’s happening. The demand is coming,” Clouse said.
Rogersville has been averaging 50 new housing permits per year for the last three years, said Larry Sutton, Rogersville’s city administrator.
He said that number is up from “a handful” in prior years.
The boom is brought on in part from the development by homebuilder Kenny Bussell.
Bussell purchased 98 lots in Patriot Place, the residential portion of Jamestown, for $1.18 million in November 2015 from Greene County and completed the development a few years later, Sutton said.
The Jamestown development didn’t materialize as planned after developer Stephen Cope was unable to secure a big-box retailer and restaurants. Cope’s Jamestown LLC filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May 2013, and the property was sold to Greene County for $13.62 million in a sheriff’s tax sale in 2014, according to past SBJ reporting.
With the Jamestown development getting a second wind, Rogersville has a chance to grow its business sector, according to officials in the town.
Tami North, executive director of the Rogersville Area Chamber of Commerce, said the group is experiencing growth in membership.
“We have been breaking records every month since 2016,” she said.
Chamber membership has doubled to 192 over the last two and a half years, North said, citing both new businesses coming into town and established businesses signing up.
The Story Church joined the chamber on Nov. 13 to become the 192nd member.
“Some might describe us as a sleeping giant,” North said of the town. “The giant is awake and he’s hungry.”
Sutton anticipates future commercial development on the west side and housing all around.
“We’re growing in all directions,” he said.
In the next month, Sutton said a 120-lot development called Woodland Hills is scheduled to break ground on Highway VV, across from the Rogersville Fire Station. He said Morelock Builders & Associates Inc. is approved for a separate development of 30 houses and 73 apartment units on the north side of U.S. Highway 60, near Jamestown Plaza.
“We’re excited and hoping filling that building up and having traffic out there will in turn drive further development in that area,” Sutton said of Jamestown.
Clouse also owns a commercial acre to the south of Jamestown Plaza that he may develop in the future.
Right now, he said his focus is on the current building.
“The place was built very well and overall is in very good condition. It was just waiting for life to come into it, and now life is here,” Clouse said.
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