A Northland community that is building its downtown from scratch and a man who has helped launch over 2,000 businesses were among the individuals and organizations honored Dec. 17 at the Clay County Economic Development Council’s Keystone Awards Luncheon.
Downtown Gladstone received a special Economic Impact Award and small-business advocate Reuben Siverling the Visionary Award as part of several honors received during the luncheon held at Harrah’s North Kansas City. Nearly 300 people attended the event, which also recognized community and school projects throughout the area.
Keystone recipients for 2015 included the Ford Motor Company plant, the City of Excelsior Springs, the Missouri Department of Transportation, Curry Real Estate Headquarters in Gladstone, Meadowbrook Village Shopping Center in Gladstone, Leggett and Platt of SubTropolis in Kansas City, Hunt Midwest Business Center expansion in Kansas City, the Landing at Briarcliff in Kansas City, Kearney Commercial Center in Kearney, Kearney Winsupply, Oak Pointe of Kearney Assisted Living and Memory Care center, Restoration 1894 in Liberty, Hallmark Cards Distribution Center in Liberty, LMV Automotive Innovation and Training Center in Liberty, Crowley Furniture in Liberty, Complete Medical Homecare in North Kansas City, Synetic Technologies expansion in North Kansas City, Shield Casework in North Kansas City, Industrial Spring Corporation in North Kansas City, Cosentino’s Price Chopper in Smithville and Thornell Corporation in Smithville. (For detailed information on the winners please see the bottom of this story.)
Combined, the honorees represent billions of dollars in Clay County investments and thousands of new jobs, as well as significant quality-of-life contributions. Gladstone’s honor recognized the city’s long-time effort to build a new downtown where none had existed, creating a community and economic focus that continues today. Siverling has served as a metropolitan-wide leader and advocate for small business, providing everything from mentorships to leadership of Midwest Small Business Finance, where he served as board president.
The meeting also saw EDC Board President Tony Reinhart hand his leadership to incoming President Sam Lodhi. Reinhart has been instrumental in multiple Clay County successes, including his key role in laying the groundwork for the $1.2 billion expansion at the Ford plant, which brought more than 4,000 new jobs to the region. Lodhi serves as strategic buyer of print and print consumables for Hallmark Cards Global Procurement.
Article and photos courtesy of Dale Garrison of DGInform.com.
Ford Motor Company in Claycomo: As part of over $1.2 billion in investment, Ford has dramatically expanded and improved its Kansas City Plant in Claycomo. The work included $400 million this year as part of retooling for the new Transit Van and F150 pickup.
This also brought 900 new jobs when Ford launched a third shift in August, raising the plant’s employment to nearly 7,500.
Clay County is now home of the number one volume Ford plant in the world.
Ford updates also include environmental additions. A new paint shop is one of the most efficient in the world, using far less energy and water. Ford is also installing more than 9,000 energy-efficient light fixtures throughout the plant to reduce electricity use by 3 million kilowatt hours a year.
The city of Excelsior Springs and the Missouri Department of Transportation: This project focuses on Highway 10 through historic Downtown Excelsior. The city and MoDOT collaborated to rebuild the highway at Ferris Street and upgrade two major bridges on Highway 10. Funding included $1 million from the city paired with $5.58 million from MoDOT.
The two historic bridges in the downtown area have been replaced with new and aesthetically pleasing structures that include connecting pedestrian walks and graceful accents. This collaborative project is bringing a much-needed improvement to the area’s roadways, while building on the beautiful and historic architecture of the area.
Curry Real Estate Headquarters in Gladstone: The new Curry Headquarters at 2700 Kendallwood Parkway has a new look and a new life, thanks to a $700,315 project that helped retain 47 jobs.
The General Contractor for this project was Zipco and the architect Jeff Price Architecture, Inc. The project refurbished the entire 15,500 square foot building with a contemporary flare. The work included new flooring, paint and accents for the 19 offices, meeting areas and two conference rooms. The lower level received a similar contemporary look and LED lighting. Outside, the new headquarters features solar panels, landscaping, a sun deck and patio.
A new business was also added to the lower level allowing the retention of 24 jobs in Clay County.
Meadowbrook Village Shopping Center, Phase 2: Recognized last year for the improvements completed during Phase One, the center continues to succeed with recent efforts to expand the shopping experience at this location. This work totaled $1.5 million in investment and 70 new jobs.
The contractor for these projects was PKC Construction and AMAI Architecture performed the design. Financing was provided by Blue Ridge Bank. Another help was a new Community Improvement District that assisted the improvements and spurred recruitment efforts.
Leggett & Platt in Hunt Midwest SubTropolis: Leggett & Platt installs modification packages for Ford’s Transit commercial van.
This year, Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products opened a new 72,000 square foot facility and a 13.5-acre underground staging lot for 1,200 Transit vans. This $4.4 million effort brought 50 new jobs to Hunt Midwest’s Automotive Alley.
The building and staging lot are the first facilities in SubTropolis to be totally equipped with Lumen Impact Super High Output LED lamps. More than 500 energy-efficient fixtures were installed in the building and staging lot, creating a healthier and more productive workplace for employees, and a more cost-efficient footprint for Leggett & Platt.
Hunt Midwest Business Center Expansion: The Hunt Midwest Business Center expansion is a $9.8 million project to expand this important surface industrial park. The 126-acre project opened land for vertical construction, which will enable Hunt Midwest Business Center to accommodate up to two million square feet of Class A warehouse and distribution space in a prime location.
Located just south of Ford’s Claycomo Assembly Plant and adjacent to the Norfolk Southern intermodal facility and Kansas City’s Fed Ex Ground hub, this is an ideal location. With direct access to 1-435, companies locating in the center can ship to 85 percent of the U.S. within two days.
The engineer for this project was Lutjen and the general contractor Emery Sapp & Sons. Hunt Midwest and UMB provided financing.
The Landing at Briarcliff: The 340-unit Landing at Briarcliff blends history from the nearby Missouri River and the elegant lifestyle first envisioned by Charles Garney for the renowned Briarcliff community.
The $42.5 million Landing project created eight new jobs and retained 35. Haren Laughlin Construction was the builder with architectural services provided by Nearing Staats Prelogar & Jones. Olsson Associates provided engineering and U.S. Bank the financing.
Located between Highway 9 and the Missouri River, The Landing at Briarcliff is a beautiful addition to Clay County and the Northland.
Kearney Commercial Center: Kearney Commercial Center involved a new and refurbished building, equipment and technology. A new façade on the 34,230 square foot property was combined with build-out for a new business, Nuts and Bolts, a full-line hardware store. New exterior LED canopy lights highlight the exterior.
With the work, up to 20 new jobs are being added to the area’s employment.
General contractor Zipco Contracting completed the work on this $170,000 project. Herman A. Scharhag Co. provided architectural services and the Project was financed by Curry Real Estate Services.
Winsupply in Kearney: This new business is a $1 million facility for a new plumbing and HVAC supply center at 1000 West Innovation Drive.
Hedrick Construction and DGM architects provided the work on this attractive new facility. This 19,920 square foot warehouse also includes offices, showroom and truck dock. The site is in the city’s Innovation Business Park, which allows the company to expand while remaining in Kearney.
Headquartered in Ohio, Kearney Winnelson combines the advantages of local accountability with the benefits of being a large, nationwide supplier. The Kearney owner is Larry Hampton.
Oak Pointe of Kearney Assisted Living and Memory Care center: This $2.9 million new facility is located at 200 East Meadowbrook Drive. It includes a 39,000 square foot, 46-unit, 50-bed assisted living facility. The beautiful facility includes parking and outdoor courtyard improvements with approximately five acres.
The project was built by ARCO Construction Company with Fred Byam of Byam Engineering conducting the design work.
The new assisted living facility not only creates jobs in the community, but also allows families in Kearney to keep their loved ones nearby.
Restoration 1894: Restoration 1894 is a building on the Historic Liberty Square that was originally built in 1894. With a $1 million investment, work has brought 10 new jobs to the area and dramatically restored a more than 120-year-old building. Owners Charles Small and Bob Sanders utilized a number of construction and professional services to complete this wonderful project.
The restoration resulted in an event space for 25 to 300 people, a catering kitchen and bridal rooms for weddings on the second floor. A new staircase and elevator leads to the event space. New retail space is already operating on the ground floor.
Part of the story is a city-approved Chapter 353 tax abatement program for the downtown area to encourage property owners like this to invest in their properties. These projects completed as part of the Chapter 353 property tax abatement have made a significant improvement to the historic preservation efforts downtown.
Hallmark Liberty Distribution Center: This year saw a tremendous workforce expansion at the Hallmark Distribution Center in Liberty, with 800 retained and 400 added.
The story is dramatic. Hallmark Cards faced a difficult decision regarding consolidation of a workforce that resulted in a plant closing on the east coast. Although this was difficult for the executives of Hallmark, the City of Liberty is fortunate that they selected the local distribution facility.
The addition of 400 new workers brings the facility to more than 1200 employees.
LMV Automotive Innovation and Training Center: LMV has made a total investment of over $90 million and added over 500 employees at its Liberty location by the end of 2015. In 2014, LMV completed a second expansion bringing the total building facility to 470,000 sq ft.
In 2015, LMV opened a new Ervin Myles Innovation and Training Center as part of their facility in Liberty. The purpose of the Center is to train hundreds of new employees in skilled trade needed for LMV’s automotive facilities and manufacturing best practices.
The training center occupies approximately 2,500 sq ft and includes all of the assembly technologies currently in use at LMV, including robotics welding. This provides LMV a competitive advantage and a good solid position to grow.
Crowley Furniture Store in Liberty: In May 2014, a fire broke out at Crowley furniture store, which ruined all of its contents and a large part of the interior by smoke and water.
Crowley furniture store is a family-run business, which opened its first store in the area 60 years ago. The 33,000 square foot furniture store is about to reopen with an updated interior in time to celebrate its 60th anniversary.
Crowley was able to retain its employees with temporary assignments in their other locations. Now, up to 15 new jobs will be added following completion of the $2.8 million project. Bear Claw Construction provided the work and the project was financed privately.
Complete Medical Homecare: Complete Medical Homecare is a nationwide Durable Medical Equipment provider specializing in direct-to-consumer diabetes supplies. During 2015, a $4.6 million project brought 84 new jobs to Burlington Road when the company relocated from Lenexa, Ks.
The development allows the company to position all of their major functions in one location while beautifying and helping to develop this area. Complete Medical Homecare now maintains its call center, insurance center, distribution center and sales and marketing at its North Kansas City facility.
Mid-America Contractors performed this construction project.
Synetic Technologies: This year, Synetic invested $350,000 and created 15 new jobs when they moved to a 75,000 square foot location at 1120 Clay Street in North Kansas City. The move tripled the size of their space and helped retain 30 jobs.
Along with the move, numerous upgrades were made to the electrical, HVAC and overall design to the building in order to meet Synetic’s critical certifications. With this expansion, Synetic can also grow the size of their company by 300 percent before another expansion is necessary.
Synetic’s gross revenue numbers have increased each year while the company has been in North Kansas City, which adds more jobs and revenue to the city.
Shield Casework: Located at 1120 Ellerbrook Road, Shield Casework manufactures cabinets and other specialized furniture for medical use nationwide. Shield Casework has perfected its ability to mold flexible and clean surfaces.
After sharing offices for nearly four years with their parent company, Dimensional Innovations, Shield needed a space of its own. The new, 20,000-square-foot manufacturing and industrial building offers an excellent location and climate-controlled fabrication space.
Jim Baker, CEO of Shield, and Rob Weber, Facilities Manager at Dimensional Innovations, led efforts to customize the shop. Mandy Stark, Brand Director for Shield, and May Mannant, Community Manager, led the interior design and fit-out of the office space. General contractor Charles Hamilton did an amazing job both in the shop and in the office space.
The company had seven employees in early 2014, and only 11 when it moved to North Kansas City. Today it has more than 25 and will earn an estimated $4 million in revenue in 2015.
Industrial Spring Corporation of Kansas City: Industrial Spring has moved to a new location at 1801 Bedford Road, North Kansas City. Founded in 1967, Industrial Spring is a custom manufacturer of high quality mechanical springs and formed metal products. This company is another of those wonderful stories built on ingenuity and hard work that don’t make a lot of headlines but help build our economy and create jobs.
A long-time regional manufacturer of springs and other metal products, they specialize in solutions for a wide range of markets. Industrial Spring provides innovative solutions to the most challenging custom spring manufacturing projects. They have years of experience and state-of-the art equipment to provide high quality, precision manufacturing in a wide range of sizes and material composition.
This year, their $4.5 million investment helped create 200 new jobs for the region.
Cosentino’s Price Chopper, Smithville: Formerly a Big V, Cosentino’s Price Chopper this year acquired the community business at 122 N. 169 Highway. The result has been dramatic: 80 jobs were retained and 40 added to the community’s employment rolls.
This location was completely remodeled and refurbished to create an exciting new grocery with expanded product choices and new offerings. Along with a more diverse range of groceries, the store added new equipment, technology and a brand new pharmacy.
This modern, brightly lit location is a significant refurbishment along one of the busiest roadways in Smithville. Cosentino’s Price Chopper has added a new and exciting business for this community.
Thornell Corporation: Located at 100 James Street, Thornell Corporation this year undertook a $300,000 expansion that extended the companies capabilities and brought four new jobs. Financed by Citizens Bank, the work was performed by Wick Mag Maples Construction. The expansion added 6,700 square feet to the 4,000 square foot existing building.
Originally located in New York and now headquartered in Smithville, Thornell has always been a family-owned business with a unique line of odor-elimination products.
Focusing on the veterinary field, these products are based on a totally unique chemistry that was originally developed at Cornell University in the late 1970′s. Thornell’s products have grown consistently and the company is now America’s premier supplier of odor elimination products to veterinarians throughout North America.
Keystone Visionary Award, Reuben Siverling: Reuben has long been known as a tireless advocate for small business. By the most recent count, he has been involved with more than 2,000 startups and expansions.
The founder and owner of Business Capital Resources, Reuben has served as an adjunct professor at both William Jewell College and Rockhurst University, and assisted Park College’s work/study program.
A long-time member of the Board of Directors for Midwest Small Business Finance, he served as board president for many years. He consistently helped ensure entrepreneurs received every possible opportunity.
For these and many other services, Reuben has been recognized as the small business advocate of the year by the Missouri House of Representatives, the City Council of Kansas City and Midwest Small Business Finance. In 2009, he received the EDC’s Look North Award.
Reuben’s service began long ago. He completed two tours in Vietnam with the 75th Infantry Airborne Rangers and as the first commanding officer of the highly decorated 4th infantry Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol. Back home, he served as treasurer for “Project Choice,” a program guiding high school students to pursue a higher education. He served as the commander for the Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps and led that group to the highest ranking in the district, producing 1,100 graduates.
Special Economic Impact Award, Downtown Gladstone: The City of Gladstone is creating something unique: a city center where none existed before.
A major motivation to developing this downtown is building long-term economic health in the community. The goal is to promote development and redevelopment that offers new housing options, expanded shopping and new dining opportunities for citizens and neighbors.
As visionary as this is, the individual pieces are equally dramatic. From the Gladstone Community Center and Natatorium, to Linden Square, The Heights, Innovation Center and more, a true city center has come into being.
One of the most recent projects is Gladstone 18. Once the Gladstone post office, the structure is now being redeveloped into a venue for restaurants and specialty food services such as coffee shops, bakeries, a deli or a sit-down restaurant.
Another recent project includes The Heights at Linden Square, a $28 million luxury apartment project with up to 10,000 square feet of new commercial development. Nearby, the Northland Innovation Campus is home for several cutting edge educational programs, including the Northland Center for Advanced Professional Studies (CAPS).