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Developer completes purchase of former Chrysler site

Developer completes purchase of former Chrysler site

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Plans to redo the former Chrysler auto plant site in Fenton are moving ahead now that KP Development has completed its purchase of the 294-acre site.

KP Development, based in Clayton, closed on the deal Wednesday. The privately owned company intends to put a business park on property where Chrysler stopped building vehicles in 2009. Demolition of the site’s two assembly plants began the following year.

Under the new ownership, the site’s name is Fenton Logistics Park. KP Development officials hope the park will have within five years 2.5 million square feet of industrial, distribution and office space.

Scott Haley, KP Development’s senior vice president, said Fenton Logistics Park will never have the 6,000 jobs Chrysler once provided but should have 2,500 to 3,000 workers “over time.”

KP Development did not say what it paid for the property, but St. Louis County’s appraised value of the site is $17.2 million.

Formerly known as Koman Properties, KP Development has talked with dozens of companies about setting up shop in Fenton, Haley and Terry Barnes, the company’s president, said in an interview. The developer had the property under contract more than a year before completing the acquisition.

Fenton’s recent approval of “planned industrial development zoning” for the site provides potential users a better sense of how the site will be redone, KP Development said.

Barnes said Fenton Logistics Park is the region’s largest such development site south of Interstate 70. Its location next to Interstate 44 and rail service from Burlington Northern increases its attractiveness, he said.

“We have secured interest from regional and national players and are working on finalizing five company-driven projects, with two of those on target to close within the next 60 to 90 days, paving the way for 300 jobs in the short term and up to 1,500 potential jobs within 24 months,” Barnes said.

Preliminary site work could begin by the end of the year, company officials said.

Getting tax incentives to help cover infrastructure costs will be key to the pace of work done, KP Development said. Readying the site for redevelopment will require removal of the auto plants’ concrete floors and asphalt parking lots covering more than 9 million square feet. Fenton Logistics Park also needs two miles of streets and utility infrastructure to serve companies and businesses anticipated as tenants, the company said.

KP Development has met with state and local officials about the potential range of incentives.

“Nothing is out of the realm here,” Barnes said.

Denny Coleman, chief executive of the St. Louis Economic Development Council, said in a statement that the project will bring new jobs and “economic opportunity to the former Chrysler site.”

Fenton Mayor Mike Polizzi said the city is pleased to see progress at the site after it sat idle for five years.

“The long-awaited redevelopment will benefit the city of Fenton, the entire St. Louis metropolitan area and even the state of Missouri,” he said in a statement.

Not in KP Development’s plan is a Rams football stadium to replace the NFL team’s home at the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis, Haley and Barnes said. But they said they had heard talk Fenton might be attractive to the Rams.

As a gag, they said, the company printed copies of a photo of Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, superimposed on the former Chrysler site.

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Tim Bryant is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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