The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 9, 2012

Developer outlines $794 million in possible Joplin revitalization projects

Council to act on initial steps next week

Joplin’s master developer Monday night asked the City Council to authorize further work toward exploring 19 potential projects that would cost $794 million if they were all constructed.

Those potential projects could include a new home for the Joplin Public Library, proposed at no cost to taxpayers, and a $68 million performing arts complex that city leaders and arts supporters had sought before last year’s tornado destroyed a third of the city.

David Wallace, chief executive officer of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners of Sugar Land, Texas, spoke to city leaders during a council work session Monday to reassure them that the firm will stand behind its work here.

“We don’t just go in and build an asset, and leave it alone,” said Wallace, a former city manager himself. He said the firm will commit to projects that will create long-term economic benefits to the city because Wallace Bajjali will be invested here, too.

“We need to bring things that are viable,” he said. “Nobody wants a project that fails,” and the firm as well as other investors will be conducting market studies before any particular project is proposed to be sure it is economically viable.

The council will be asked at its regular meeting Monday to authorize the necessary steps to proceed.

Land acquisition was the first step recommended. Wallace recommended that $8 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds and $22 million in bonds from the Missouri Development Finance Board Program be allocated to the Joplin Redevelopment Corporation, a city board, to start land purchases. The land could be used for several purposes. It could be used to consolidate tracts for development or it could be sold for redevelopment. Proceeds can be used to set up a revolving loan fund for economic development projects, according to the Wallace Bajjali proposal.

The largest of the proposals, a $258 million housing program to replace some of the 7,500 houses and apartments lost in the tornado, would be the priority, Wallace said in response to a question from Councilman Mike Woolston.

That would include $162.5 million for the construction of 1,300 houses that would be sold at market rates for about $125,000 each. There also would be housing for low-income residents and for senior citizens.

A $68 million performing arts complex and Union Depot restoration downtown might be funded from a large portion of a grant — perhaps $30 million — from the Economic Development Administration, Wallace said.

A larger Joplin Public Library could be built and financed by revenue generated from leasing an upper floor of the building to a movie theater company, Wallace told the council.

The library’s existing site could provide land for construction of a downtown education complex that might bring Joplin a medical college and student housing, he said.

These types of projects have been done in other cities where Wallace Bajjali has worked, including its hometown of Sugar Land.

The firm has experience relevant to Joplin in two other cities affected by tornados: a $350 million redevelopment of Waco, Texas, and a $113 million project in Amarillo, Texas.

Wallace said some of the projects might be in operation within three to five years, though the initial stages would appear to come slowly as the land is acquired, the financing pieces put together, and the projects engineered and designed.

Asked by Councilman Jack Golden whether the housing projects would be coordinated with what is already being provided in projects by nonprofit and church organizations, and by developers using tax credits from the Missouri Housing Development Corp., Wallace said they would be.

Councilman Mike Seibert asked if Wallace would use local contractors and professionals for the projects. Wallace said he would because the projects would not stimulate the local economy otherwise. “There is no sense in getting government grants and then cycling them to Texas,” he said.

Asked by Golden how long the firm would be in Joplin, Wallace said the firm is making a long-term investment here. He said the firm still owns all of the projects in which it has invested in other cities.

Wallace told the council he may propose 30 to 40 projects over time, and they will all have to be assessed. He also will hold community meetings to get resident input on the proposals.

“I don’t know what else he has in mind,” said City Manager Mark Rohr after the meeting. “These cover a lot of ground from housing to those that affect quality of life issues, so I think it’s pretty well-rounded.”

“I’m excited,” said Jerrod Hogan, co-founder of Rebuild Joplin, of the Wallace Bajjali proposal. “Our mission is to see that everyone has safe, affordable housing. I don’t know that this will directly impact Rebuild Joplin, but it will help support our mission.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter