The Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce recently sold its spec building in eastern Jefferson City to an Ohio-based holding company.
Over the years, dozens of companies have looked at the building, and a handful of those companies located elsewhere in Jefferson City.
A two-phase renovation of the building is now underway. The sale will finally put a tenant in the warehouse building which sat empty since its completion 10 years ago.
Planning for the 50,000-square-foot building began in October 2005. Missy Bonnot, the chamber's director of economic development, told the News Tribune at the time that a spec building — a turn-key building pre-constructed and ready for a company to start work almost immediately — would make it easier to attract manufacturers to the city.
"Eighty percent (of prospective manufacturers) are looking for an existing building," Bonnot said at the time.
Built in 2006 for $1.1 million, the building sold May 18 for an undisclosed amount to PJP Holdings, a holding company based in the suburbs of Columbus, Ohio, according to a deed for the property signed by Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce President Randy Allen.
Bonnot declined to say for how much the building was sold. Records obtained from the Cole County Assessor's Office also do not list the sale price. Missouri is one of a handful of states where buyers and sellers are not required to disclose sales prices to government agencies.
A representative of PJP Holdings could not be reached for comment.
Building permits approved by Jefferson City officials June 16 show a $400,000 renovation of the building is planned. During the first phase of the renovation, a 10-inch-high concrete floor will be installed. Fire sprinklers also will be installed as the building's interior is finished. The building permits show this first phase will cost $182,000.
During the second phase, a 75,000-square-foot warehouse will be added onto the building. Construction started immediately after the building permit's approval. The final cost of the project will be about $1.5 million, and the building will house a manufacturing company.
Calls to Rimiller Architects, listed as the design consultant for the project, were not returned. James Stark, owner of Jefferson City contractor Stark Construction Services, listed as the project's general contractor, declined to comment on what is being constructed inside the building.
Bonnot said the chamber and the building's new owner will make an announcement soon about the company moving into the building.
The spec building accomplished its goal of attracting businesses, even if it did sit empty for a decade, Bonnot said. She noted that 80 percent of manufacturers want to move into a new building and that the building's sale could leave the city without a valuable ready-to-go asset.
Several manufacturing companies that wouldn't have otherwise looked at Jefferson City considered the building, including a Korean company, Bonnot said. Other local companies also looked at the using the building for their needs.
In 2013, Bloomington, Illinois-based Morris Packaging looked at the spec building. It ended up locating in a new facility nearby at 6850 Algoa Road, because the spec building did not fit its needs. Bonnot said the company would not have looked at Jefferson City were it not for the spec building.
"It's kind of been the carrot we needed," Bonnot said. "It's been a very good economic development tool. In economic development, if you can get just a portion of the projects that look at your community, you're doing pretty well."
Bonnot conceded the Great Recession of 2008-09 hurt the chamber's prospects for finding a tenant for the building after its completion. She said the chamber had a tenant lined up in 2007, but the deal eventually fell through after that company underwent a merger at the height of the recession.
"(The Great Recession) really did hurt us, but so was the rest of the country," Bonnot said.
In all, Bonnot said, the chamber recouped its investment.
"I would say it was a good return on our investment, and we are finally going to see the return on our investment," Bonnot said. "The whole point of the building was to bring jobs."