The site of the old Chrysler assembly plant in Fenton is starting its new life as a logistics and business park.
By the summer, some 400 people should be working at what’s now called the Fenton Logistics Center, the site’s developer, Clayton-based KP Development, announced Friday.
BJC HealthCare plans to move its Clinical Asset Management Division to 80,000 square feet in a new Fenton Logistics Center building. The division, which stores supplies and equipment for the health care operator, will vacate existing space on Larkin Williams Road in Fenton.
Already moving into that 160,000-square-foot structure, completed in May, is Alkem Laboratories, a Mumbai, India-based pharmaceutical company. An affiliate of the company, S&B Pharma Inc., owns a plant just south of Interstate 44 in Fenton, and Alkem will occupy about 32,000 square feet of space in Fenton Logistics.
Another 160,000-square-foot building is under construction, and KP Development said CoreLink, which designs and manufactures precision surgical instruments and implants, will occupy 67,000 square feet there. Beckwood Press, a Fenton-based manufacturer of hydraulic presses and other specialty machinery, has already signed a lease to occupy almost 56,000 square feet in the structure. Beckwood will consolidate three locations it has in the region in the new facility.
“Since we completed the site infrastructure on the east side of the site and erected Building I, the velocity of deals and companies looking at Fenton Logistics Park has increased dramatically,” KP Development Managing Director Scott Haley said in a statement. “Nearly 400 quality, skilled jobs are attributable to these tenants, and we are confident they are the first wave of vibrant companies who will choose to put down roots within this development.”
The leases announced Friday promise to add some new life to a site that has sat vacant since the last Dodge Ram pickup rolled off the assembly line in 2009. It won’t ever replace the nearly 6,500 lost jobs in assembly plants making pickups and minivans, but KP Development hopes it can build out enough industrial space to employ around 2,500 workers.
KP Development purchased the site in late 2014, and last year, Fenton and St. Louis County approved a tax increment financing package worth some $52 million. The TIF includes state approval to withhold half of the Missouri income taxes from new jobs on the site as well as new property and sales tax generated there.
Over the next few years, KP envisions a $222 million redevelopment of the site into a 2.1 million-square-foot business park. It said it has already spent $12 million on site improvements, road work and utilities.
And more buildings are on the way. A third, 168,000-square-foot industrial and warehouse building is slated to be complete by the summer, and a fourth structure of similar size should break ground early next year. In all, the first four buildings of the industrial park represent about $65 million worth of work, KP says.
It has three more buildings on the drawing board already, with space to continue building out the park. Almost 200,000 square feet of retail, restaurants and hotels are also part of the site plans.
“We’re seeing pent-up demand for new, modern facilities in this part of the region, with various prospective tenants having different needs, whether it’s for more parking, higher ceilings, air conditioning in the warehouse space or something else,” said Jon Hinds, a vice president with commercial real estate firm CBRE who specializes in industrial and logistics property and represents KP Development in Fenton Logistics Park transactions.