Six projects currently on the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce’s horizon have the potential to bring a total of $111.5 million in capital investment and more than 150 new jobs to Jefferson City.
Missy Bonnot, interim chamber president and director of economic development, presented an update on the projects to the Jefferson City Council during a special session Monday.
Specifics about which companies are involved in the projects have to remain confidential for now, but Bonnot was able to share some information about what the projects could bring to the community.
Four of the projects are expansions of existing businesses in Jefferson City.
Altogether, the four projects would include 198,000 square feet of new construction, 98 new jobs and $40.5 million in capital investment.
Another existing business is planning an expansion as well as a relocation. The company would construct a new, 108,000-square-foot facility in Jefferson City, for a total capital investment of $30 million. The expansion would help them to retain 100 jobs, although it would likely not create many new ones.
The chamber is also involved in a business attraction project called “Project Starburst,” which has been in the works for more than two years. Bonnot said they have met with representatives of the manufacturing company within that time, and the company has talked to local contractors.
The project would add 110,000 square feet of new construction, create 70 new jobs and bring $41 million in capital investment to the city. Bonnot said the jobs created by the business attraction project would have an average wage of $41,000 per year, which is on par with Jefferson City’s average wage.
Bonnot said they should know if the company will locate to Jefferson City within the next six months, and the chamber will likely approach the City Council to discuss incentives the city can offer.
According to timelines given to the chamber by the companies, all six projects could be completed within the next two years, some faster than others.
The benefit of the projects, especially the new construction, would reach beyond what the companies provide their new employees, Bonnot said.
“We’re looking at over 400,000 square feet of new construction in our community, so it’s not just the investment in jobs the projects bring but it’s construction jobs,” Bonnot said. “Local contractors will be working on these projects, so a lot of spin-off to these projects as well.”
The projects would also be scattered around the city, with some on the east side and west side, as well as the central area.
“The great thing about all of these projects is they are totally spread out in Jefferson City,” Bonnot said. “It’s spread out geographically, which is really nice. All sides of our community will benefit from these projects.”
Three of the projects are considering parcels of land currently owned by the chamber on the east side, near Scholastic Inc., Command Web and Morris Packaging.
The chamber owns about 85 acres of vacant land in the area, near the corner of U.S. 50/63 and Militia Drive.
Two business expansion projects and Project Starburst are interested in buying portions of that land. Project Starburst is interested in about 22 acres, one of the existing companies wants about 4 acres and the relocating business is looking at about 35 acres.
Bonnot said the city and county would need to put in $1.3 million-$1.5 million in infrastructure to create the “mini industrial park” on that location.
The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission would also need to split the lot between the three.
“This land has been sitting for about 10 years now, and for these three companies to kind of come together all at once has been really exciting,” she said.
Bonnot said it is exciting to see so much interest in investment in the community, especially during an uncertain year.
“Even during the COVID times, it’s exciting that our existing businesses and new businesses have enough confidence in our region to put capital investment into our community,” Bonnot said.
While it’s too early to say for certain if every project will happen, Bonnot is confident Jefferson City will see them through.
“I have learned, in my experience, you never say a project is a done deal until a building is done and employees are working in the building,” Bonnot said. “But I feel very confident about all of these projects.”