RDA Happenings May 2014
Posted on May 1, 2014 – By Emporia RDA
The first five months of 2014 have been quite active. We have had many conversations with existing and new companies regarding expansions
Late last year Hostess Brands announced $30 million investment. Nearly $25 million was earmarked for new baking equipment and the balance for a new 36,000 sq. ft. warehouse building. Once the project is complete 50 new jobs will be created. The warehouse is proceeding with the completion and installation of the new equipment to be completed by late June or early July.
In mid-May the Kansas City Star reported that Hostess Brands LLC, own by Apollo global Management and C. Dean Metropoulos & Company was planning to declare a $175 million dividend to their investors. Declaring a dividend after the first year indicates Hostess Brands is viable and will be part of Emporia’s future for many years to come.
April had two exciting announcements. Simmons Pet Food announced a multimillion dollar expansion which would in-crease their canning production, increase the size of their building and create more than 80 new jobs by next year. This is the second expansion in less than 18 months. The Kansas Department of Transportation awarded a $500,000 grant to the City of Emporia to cover the majority of the construction costs for Warren Way, which will provide better access for the Simmons West and East buildings. The paving of Warren Way will open the west 45-acre tract in Park III for future de-velopment.
On April 21st Birch Communications a provider of business focused communications, cloud and manage services based in Atlanta acquired Cbeyond Inc. This acquisition will combine two communications and technology services leaders into a superior customer service provider. We are optimistic that this acquisition will positively impact the Birch Com-munications Emporia facility.
Already in 2014, we had two prospect visits to Emporia. During the recession we had little or no prospects visit. A flurry of leads has been generated by our efforts and through our economic development partners, such the Kansas City Area Development Council – Animal Health Corridor, Kansas Department of Commerce and others.
Late in January the Zoning change request, the Planned Unit Development (PUD) application, and the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Application was filed by a group of developers from the Kansas City metropolitan area for the Emporia Pavilions project. The commercial and retail development site is located generally northeast of the intersection of 24th Avenue and Industrial Road. Later in May or early in June the Development Strategies report will be completed on the Project Feasibility, and present to the City Commission.
Last year Emporia Enterprises, who the RDA partners with in identifying, analyzing, and acquiring options to purchase, then purchases future industrial land, acquired a purchase option on a 318-acre tract located in northeast Lyon County. Before the end of the year, Lyon County and the City of Emporia will actively participate in the discussions, delibera-tions and decisions on the purchase option.
This past month, Emporia Enterprises requested and received competitive bids from engineers, scientists and surveyors to assist in the due diligence analysis on this 318-acre tract.
More projects are in the pipeline. Hopefully, this uptick in our regional economy will continue. Activity and excitement is in the air. Stay tuned!
One more item I may have mentioned earlier that we had six Emporia State University Students Rakan Almadini, Aaron Freeze, Kati Lebeda, Brandon Songster, Mason Teeter, and Jacob Torkelson assisted us in setting up LinkedIn, Face-book and Twitter accounts for the Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas (RDA). Some of you have reached out to my LinkedIn account; we would like to also connect with you on the RDA LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter accounts.