The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Top Stories

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
Top Stories
  • r041514recycledfashion.jpg Joplin High School students to model ‘recycled’ dresses at fashion show

    Audrey Kaman will walk the runway later this week wearing a dress she designed herself — made out of 250 doilies. “I’d say it’s a fun dress,” the Joplin High School sophomore said. “It’s not really elegant because it’s short, but it’s cute.”

    April 15, 2014 4 Photos

  • Shooter in Joplin murder sentenced to life in prison

    The teen convicted of being the triggerman in the murder of Jacob Wages was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with the possibility of parole. At a hearing in Jasper County Circuit Court in Joplin, Circuit Judge Gayle Crane followed a jury’s recommendations in assessing Daniel D. Hartman, 18, two life sentences on convictions for second-degree murder and armed criminal action, and 15 years on a conviction for burglary.

    April 15, 2014

  • Interchange construction work near Carterville to create safer off-ramp

    As the Missouri Department of Transportation begins rebuilding eastbound ramps at the Missouri Highway 171 and Route HH interchange near Carterville this week, drivers can expect ramp and occasional lane closures. The $1.5 million project, funded by the state, will increase the distance between ramps for drivers traveling northbound on Highway 249 and exiting eastbound to Highway 171.

    April 15, 2014

  • Schreiber Foods schedules Carthage plant expansion

    Plans to expand a Schreiber Foods plant to eventually add 160 new jobs have been endorsed by a Carthage committee working with the company. Andrew Tobish, director of combinations for Schreiber, which is based in Green Bay, Wis., confirmed the project, which he said would be complete by late spring or early summer in 2015.

    April 15, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Three things coming your way in Wednesday’s paper.

    April 15, 2014

  • Local Jews offer reactions to Overland Park shooting

    Jews in Joplin and throughout the region are struggling to come to terms with Sunday’s shooting at a Jewish community center and a Jewish retirement complex in suburban Kansas City, resulting in three deaths. The suspect has been identified as Frazier Glenn Cross, 73, of Aurora.

    April 14, 2014

  • Suspect in Kansas shooting has long history as white supremacist

    Frazier Glenn Cross drew the ire of Joplin residents in 2006 when several hundred copies of his white supremacist newspaper were landing on lawns in the city. The White Patriot Leader spouted the usual Cross diatribe. A race war was imminent. The “newspaper for white Americans,” as it billed itself, ranted against an invasion of the country by illegal Hispanic immigrants, the proliferation of black culture, and a purported takeover of the government, banks and the media by Jews.

    April 14, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mike Seibert elected new mayor of Joplin

    Joplin’s new mayor pledged Monday night that the city will operate with more transparency and that work toward redevelopment will be the City Council’s priority. Mike Seibert, who withstood a challenge by another incumbent councilman in last Tuesday’s election to be the Zone 4 councilman, was elected mayor by a unanimous vote of the panel Monday night.

    April 14, 2014

  • 3 To Get Ready

    Members of the new Joplin City Council, in the wake of the April 8 election and turmoil that roiled to the surface last August, will elect a mayor and mayor pro tem. Read all of the details.

    April 14, 2014