Development activity is heating up at the corner of East Kearney Street and U.S. Highway 65.
Two heavily wooded lots, comprising 57 acres, that were originally designated for industrial park plans in 2018 has been sold to two new parties – one with intentions to build a car dealership.
The wooded area is located near a Waffle House restaurant off the U.S. Highway 65 exit on Kearney Street. Ozark Motor Lines Inc. sits between the two lots, which are connected on the east side fronting the highway, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.
Corwin Automotive Group purchased 25 acres for an undisclosed amount in early December, with the plan to move its Sunshine Street operations to north Springfield in 2021, said Jeff McConville, operating partner for Corwin Automotive of Springfield.
The planned development at 3300 E. Kearney St. would house the dealer’s Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram and Fiat fleets currently at 1025 W. Sunshine St.
“We have completely outgrown our facility on Sunshine,” McConville said, noting the planned new building’s 60,000 square feet would double the current operation.
The plans come months after Napleton Autowerks/Missouri Inc. relocated its dealership from South Campbell Avenue to U.S. Highway 65, according to past SBJ reporting.
Springfield principal planner Bob Hosmer said Corwin Automotive officials applied for a land-disturbance permit in October. While the trees haven’t been cleared yet, McConville said the group plans to break ground in the next few months. He declined to disclose costs for the project slated to wrap up by summer 2021.
McConville said Fargo, North Dakota-based Olaf Anderson Construction Inc. is signed on as general contractor, and the design firm is BRP Architects in Springfield. He said the group will look for other local companies for additional project work.
The automotive company, based in Fargo, first entered the Springfield market in 2012 through the purchase of local dealership Central Dodge, according to past SBJ reporting.
Its move to north Springfield is an effort to consolidate the dealership’s service facilities, McConville said. Corwin Automotive currently works on vehicles at the Sunshine dealership and at a service center down the street at 3240 W. Sunshine St. The group also reconditions its preowned cars at the Corwin Ford of Springfield location at 3241 S. Glenstone Ave., the longtime home of Friendly Ford, which Corwin Automotive bought in 2017. Corwin Ford will remain on Glenstone Avenue, McConville said.
The planned dealership is adjacent to a 33-acre site that SFC Real Estate LLC purchased in February from the previous owner, ICT II LLC, according to the seller’s real estate representative.
Lee McLean III, a senior adviser with SVN/Rankin Co., said via email the new owners are evaluating 33 acres for industrial use, though final plans for the site are pending. He declined to disclose the purchase price, and officials with the development group could not be reached by press time.
Last December, the Springfield Planning & Zoning Commission voted in favor of a preliminary plat and rezoning for the 57 acres, where ICT II had planned the Morris Industrial Park.
The plat was approved for two years at the time, Hosmer said, and it has another year remaining. Hosmer said the city has not been contacted about efforts to move forward on the industrial park project.
The organizer of ICT II is Kenneth Morris, according to Missouri secretary of state records. The 2023 S. Glenstone Ave. address listed on ICT II’s state filings is the site of the Brown Derby Wine Center. Morris could not be reached by press time.
Economic development officials have noted significant demand for industrial buildings in the Springfield area. Ryan Mooney, senior vice president of economic development at the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, told SBJ in September that industrial development vacancy was only 2.9%, a move from 4.9% vacancies in first quarter 2019.
The East Kearney lot is less than two miles away from Partnership Industrial Center, home to NorthStar Battery, SRC Electrical and John Deere Reman.
SBJ compiles news on the respiratory virus outbreak.
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