RDA Happenings December 2016
Posted on December 31, 2016 – By Emporia RDA
The Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas (RDA) uses several metrics to measure results of their efforts. Since 1995, over $917,000,000 has been invested by the private sector in buildings and equipment. Over 2,245,000 sq. ft. of new manufacturing and warehouse space has been constructed in Emporia and Lyon County. Based upon the various incentive compliance agreements developed between the expanding private sector businesses and the City of Emporia, over 2,000 new jobs have been created. Most notably from January 1, 2013 to January 1, 2016, there have been 929 full-time jobs created. Hostess Brands, Simmons Pet Food, and Birch Communications accounted for more than 800 of those 929 jobs.
May 4, 2016, Birch Communications celebrated their 20 years in Emporia. The current owners, who purchased Birch in 2007, are well positioned for stable growth.
Fanestil Meats relocated part of their operations to the west highway 50 location in 2015. Dan and Jan Smoots, owners of Fanestil Meats, were recognized as the 2016 Small Business Administration – Wichita District, Small Business Persons of the Year award.
Hostess Brands continues to grow since the new owners restarted the shutter operations in April 2013. With more than 500 full-time employees, the owners reinvested by using updated energy efficient and modern equipment. The majority of their cake products are produced at the Emporia “flagship” facility. We look forward to continued future growth with Hostess Brands.
On November 5, 2016, Hostess Brands became a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ with the trading symbol TWNK.
Many projects take several years from discussion, design, construction, and then the opening of the facilities. Two commercial projects are the Flint Hills Mall, and the Emporia Pavilions project.
On June 26, 2015, the Flint Hills Mall submitted a Community Improvement District (CID) application. The RDA reviewed the application for completeness and submitted it to the Emporia City Commission. The CID application and development agreement were approved by the City Commission on October 21, 2015. The CID sales tax collections began in the second quarter 2016. The renovation of B&B Theaters was completed and reopened on September 23, 2016. More improvements, such as exterior facades and parking resurfacing are continuing.
The Emporia Pavilions began in May 2013. In 2015 the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) was approved. In June 2016 the Community Improvement District (CID) ordinance was approved. In early September the site preparation work began. The proposed retail development will have up to 258,300 sq. ft. of retail space on the 39 acre tract. The project cost is estimated to be $38,836,951 with $6,069,235 in reimbursement from TIF and CID pay-as-you-go funds. The developer equity/private financing is $30,767,716.
Emporia’s future is quite promising with several companies considering multi-million dollar expansion projects with quality job creation. Some of these projects may occur in 2017 or beyond. Most of our industry sectors are relatively strong. The industry sectors experiencing headwinds are the oil & gas, agriculture producing, and agriculture equipment. The advantage of a diversified economy, as one sector retreats, others move forward.
RDA Board member Bill Barnes, the Emporia Enterprises Board representative on the RDA Board of Directors, reached his term limit on both boards. We thank him for his volunteerism, leadership, and willingness to assist in making Emporia a great place to live and prosper.
Jose Feliciano, who served on the Emporia Enterprises Board of Directors, his first term expired. Due to time commitments on the exciting transformation at the Flint Hills Mall, Jose was unable to serve a second term on the Emporia Enterprises Board of Directors. We thank him for his leadership and service to Emporia.