Logistics company cancels development in Willmar Industrial Park
WILLMAR -- For months, Wilmar city staff and the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission have been working to bring a major development to the Willmar Industrial Park -- a 100,000-square-foot package sorting and distr...
WILLMAR - For months, Wilmar city staff and the Kandiyohi County and City of Willmar Economic Development Commission have been working to bring a major development to the Willmar Industrial Park - a 100,000-square-foot package sorting and distribution center.
The city even approved the sale of 14.46 acres for $650,000 in October 2018 to Jones Development Company out of Kansas City, who was developing the project for the end user.
Everything seemed to have been moving right along, even up to the last few weeks.
On Thursday, the unnamed logistics company behind the development slammed the brakes on the project. It has decided to terminate the commercial property purchase agreement with the city.
"This is a little bit out of the blue," said Aaron Backman, EDC director. "It appears to be a call by the end user to roll back on capital plans. It is disappointing."
Backman and Sarah Swedburg, interim Willmar Planning and Development Services director, announced the news at Thursday's EDC joint operations board meeting.
"So many hours that went into that," Swedburg said. "It was an end user decision."
The company was to purchase several acres of land in the Willmar Industrial Park, between Trott Avenue and Willmar Avenue Southwest on the west side of Kandiyohi County Road 5.
Jones Development Company notified the city Thursday morning by letter of the end user's decision. CBRE, a commercial real estate company, had also been working on the project, having initially contacted the city about the possible project last year.
"Frankly, I think it was a surprise to the site development people and Jones Development," Backman said.
In Backman's opinion the decision to cancel the project had nothing to do with the site, Willmar or west central Minnesota.
"Businesses need to make decisions based on their capital investment all the time," Backman said. "This is a decision out of our control."
Though this project won't be happening, Backman said the company is not against coming to Willmar in the future.
Despite the unfortunate outcome, Backman has been able to see some positives. Having a national business interested in Willmar shows the shovel-ready certification for the industrial park work and that the city can compete with other regional centers for business.
Mayor Marv Calvin is also disappointed the project is not moving forward, though he understands having to make business decisions.
He thanked the staff at the city and the EDC for all their work and said the city will be keeping its eyes open for other development possibilities.
"It is sad they are not coming," Calvin said of the company. "We will continue to pursue opportunities as they come up."