Development plans for Eastgate Commerce Center, a US$ 1bn industrial park in eastern Independence of Kansas city, were recently approved by the Independence City Council. The project will involve the redevelopment of over 1,200 acres of farmland located off of Little Blue Parkway into an industrial park.
The Eastgate Commerce Center is the latest industrial development brought to the city by NorthPoint Development, a well-renowned warehouse and distribution facilities developer based in Riverside.
The 10 million square feet industrial park will feature about 21 new buildings to be used for warehousing, logistics and manufacturing. In addition, the industrial park will provide 250 acres reserved for protected green spaces, along with two new trailheads, a dog park and other recreational amenities. It is expected to reach completion in about 15 years.
According to the developers, the new Eastgate Commerce Center will create up to 5,000 employment opportunities, with an average wage of $36,000 per annum. In return, NorthPoint will receive several incentives from the city, which include a sales tax exemption for the project’s construction, a 20-year tax abatement, an 85% property tax break for 12 years, and thereafter, an 81% abatement over an eight-year period.
Eastgate Commerce Center facing opposition from residents
Opponents of the Eastgate Commerce Center project have petitioned against it and gathered over 1,000 signatures in hopes of halting the development. Various complaints have been brought up by residents concerning the traffic, noise and environmental consequences of the project, which they say would disturb a part of the city that has not undergone any major developments in recent times.
But these concerns were not shared by a majority of the city council, who are of the opinion that the benefits of the Eastgate Commerce Center project far outweigh the concerns. The developers estimate that up to $135 million in taxes would be paid over the 33-year duration of the project.
The Fort Osage R-I school district is expected to benefit from the majority of the new taxes which will come from the Eastgate Commerce Center project; this was a deciding factor in the City Council’s approval, as the project’s site is presently agricultural and barely produces any property tax revenue for the city or county.