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Project officials are planning an industrial business park with rail access on a 220-acre site in Strafford near Interstate 44.  
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Project officials are planning an industrial business park with rail access on a 220-acre site in Strafford near Interstate 44.  

220-acre industrial park planned in Strafford

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Last edited 9:39 a.m., Sept. 26, 2019

A group of local developers received a municipal green light tonight to create a multimillion-dollar industrial park in southwest Missouri.  

During a special meeting of the Strafford Board of Aldermen, officials voted 5-1 to approve a tax increment financing plan for up to $13.7 million toward the Southwest Missouri Rail and Business Park. The developers, organized as South West Missouri Rail and Business Park LLC, requested reimbursements for their $18.5 million infrastructure investment.

Located off Interstate 44 in Strafford, the 220-acre park is designed with 21 sites for industrial development, including five rail sites with direct access to BNSF Railway Co. Project developers expect construction to begin in first-quarter 2020. 

“Strafford has experienced quite a bit of growth in a short amount of time,” said Strafford City Administrator Martha Smartt. “With the I-44 corridor, as well as the railroad that goes through the community, this seems to be very compatible with the infrastructure we already have in place and believe it will help build upon that.”

The project’s five partners – through South West Missouri Rail and Business Park – are John Kramer, Titus Williams and Brad Williams of Williams and Kramer LLC, and Rich Kramer and Bob Kramer of Rich Kramer Construction Inc. 

The group bought 220 acres at Route 66 and Highway 125 in July, Titus Williams said, and infrastructure work for water, sewer, gutter, roads, rail and street lighting is expected to cost around $18.5 million before the sites are developed.

The Strafford aldermen vote was postponed after the board’s second reading of the TIF plan on Sept. 16 after two board members were absent. The plan was first introduced to the board on Sept. 3, Smartt said. During a July 23 TIF commission meeting, project officials said the park will be funded by $85.5 million in private investment plus the $13.7 million TIF reimbursements, according to the meeting minutes document. The park is expected to spur $100 million in development, plus the growth of jobs in the area, according to the city documents.

Before the vote took place, Williams said buyers would have the option to build-to-suit or to work with the development group through a design-build leaseback agreement. Available sites are $65,000-$70,000 per acre with developer cash incentives available. Also available is the Missouri Works program, according to a news release. The state program helps businesses create jobs and facility expansions through payroll withholdings or tax credits, according to the Missouri Department of Economic Development website. 

One site is under a purchase agreement with an undisclosed buyer, according to the release, and another site will be used by the developers to create a speculative building with a summer 2020 completion date. 

Requests for infrastructure bids for sewer, water, streets and rail engineering will be released by the last quarter of 2019.

Williams said the development plan also calls for a 24-unit, multifamily housing component that will create a buffer between the industrial development and Strafford’s residential neighborhoods. He said the housing will be marketed toward people who work at the industrial park.

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