Exclusive: ‘Project Toto’ is huge retail distribution center headed for KC

The dog is out of the bag.

Sources are reporting that Project Toto, the code name for a large project that area economic development agencies have been hoping to land, is CVS Health and that it has selected a distribution center site in Kansas City.

Specifically, sources said that CVS, the nation’s largest drugstore chain operator, selected a site in Skyport Industrial Park, located near Kansas City International Airport, and plans an 850,000-square-foot distribution center there.

In late 2014, NorthPoint Development purchased the last remaining development ground in Skyport Industrial Park— a 67.38-acre tract southeast of 108th Street and Congress Avenue.

NorthPoint declined comment about the Project Toto news, but other sources indicated that CVS plans to develop the site itself or bring in its own outside developer.

Area economic development sources previously reported that Project Toto was code for a large distribution center for a national retail chain, which was seeking 100 acres for the project within a 150-mile radius of Kansas City.

One source said the acreage requirement had shrunk, allowing Skyport to beat out another site the CVS considered on the Kansas side. Multiple sources speculated that incentives may have played a role in attracting CVS to the Missouri-side site, but the Missouri Department of Economic Development was not immediately available to respond to questions about state incentives.

Port KC recently approved a 10-year, 90 percent property tax exemption, followed by a 10-year, 50 percent exemption to support $250 million worth of development on another NorthPoint Development site in Kansas City’s Northland Park. But Marissa Cleaver Wamble, a spokeswoman for Port KC, said the agency had not granted any incentives for the Skyport site, to date.

News of the new distribution facility comes in the wake of CVS Health’s $1.9 billion acquisition in December 2015 of Target Corp.’s pharmacy and clinic operations. That included 1,670 pharmacies in Target stores.

According to CVS Health’s most recent annual report, its retail/LTC (long-term care) segment included 9,652 retail stores, including the pharmacies located in Targets, as of June 30.

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