NorthPoint leaps into Liberty with $200M, 3.6M-square-foot industrial park

Even as NorthPoint Development busies itself advancing expansive industrial parks in the suburbs of Philadelphia and Charlotte, N.C., the Riverside-based builder has not forsaken its own Kansas City-area backyard.

Its latest local undertaking, christened the Northeast Distribution Center, calls for the construction of approximately 3.6 million square feet of industrial space across 337 undeveloped acres in Liberty, near the city’s border with Claycomo, south of Liberty Parkway between Hughes and Campbell roads.

The $200 million project includes eight buildings, ranging from 257,000 to 800,000 square feet, just west of Ford Motor Co.’s stamping facility and not far from the automaker’s Kansas City Assembly Plant.

Liberty City Council members in November approved a development agreement, rezoning and preliminary development plan for Northeast Distribution Center.

NorthPoint now hopes to close on the project site and start grading by March, with the expectation of delivering two speculative buildings in 2021, said Brent Miles, the company’s chief marketing officer and a founding partner.

Liberty officials in 2017 amended the city’s comprehensive plan to designate the vacant 337 acres — christened the Broadacres site — for a future business park development. The land’s proximity to the Ford facilities and Lane4 Property Group Inc.’s Liberty Logistics Center made it an ideal spot for a job center hub, officials said in city documents.

Fully built out, Northeast Distribution Center will create an estimated 2,100 full-time jobs, with $95.7 million in annual wages, plus about 1,530 indirect construction jobs, with annual wages around $96.8 million.

Miles said NorthPoint had seen one of its best overall industrial lease-ups at Northland Park, a short distance south at Missouri Highway 210 and Kimball Drive in Kansas City, on account of factors like the location and nearby workforce.

“Northland Park has been a walk-off home run, and we’re going to see if we can do it again,” he told the Kansas City Business Journal last week. “We love this (Liberty) park and really look forward to seeing what happens here starting in 2021.”

Northeast Distribution Center will present opportunities for Ford’s suppliers to locate close to the company’s facilities as well as for business owners living in or around Liberty to invest in new industrial hubs not far from home, in the Northland, Miles added.

“You have a lot of small business owners and executives that live up here and would love to have the ability to have new (industrial) space that isn’t south of the river and is in Clay County itself,” he said.

Even with 2020’s record amount of industrial leasing activity and construction, the overall local market still is “under-built,” given its current rush of deals, said Joe Accurso, executive director of Cushman & Wakefield’s Kansas City office and broker for Northeast Distribution Center.

As such, he said, the new Liberty park will serve the metro’s need for large infill sites capable of supporting multiple large industrial buildings as the market continues on its upward trajectory into the new year.

Under Liberty’s development agreement, NorthPoint will seek a 20-year tax abatement through the city’s Chapter 100 program, starting at 90% in year one and decreasing to 18% by year 20.

The incentive will help the developer complete nearby road improvements, including a two-phase realignment and reconstruction of Hughes Road to the city limit and a new private road providing secondary access to Ford’s plant.

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