Ironhorse Manufacturing Park has landed a tenant for its first building, and developer Jeff Lange says it’s proof that the Wichita City Council’s vote this week for tax breaks on speculative buildings makes sense.
Hyper Pet, which makes pet products, is moving from its current space at 31st and Meridian to a 103,500-square-foot building that Lange built on spec at Ironhorse, which is at the southwest corner of MacArthur and Seneca.
“They were looking quite hard at going to Kansas City,” Lange says. “We really … worked very hard to make all things equal out here and land them as our first tenant.”
He says Hyper Pet has acquired a South Carolina company and will be needing more space within Ironhorse.
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“Sometimes the best way to bring companies to Wichita is by helping those companies flourish in this town and bring acquisitions to town,” Lange says. “We’d like to reverse the Coleman and the Pizza Hut trend.”
Lange says Ironhorse is a manufacturing park, not an industrial one.
“We are specifically (striving) to create jobs and maximize the opportunity for employment in each building we create,” he says.
Unlike large warehouses that may have few employees, Lange says manufacturing buildings can create 100 to 200 jobs in similarly sized space.
Without tax breaks under a previous city plan, Lange says this building and deal would not have happened.
“We wouldn’t have done this – not in Wichita anyway.”
Lange says industrial revenue bonds can make or break projects.
“Without that, we just can’t compete against other communities.”
Based on IRB calculations, he says it gave him the confidence to get Ironhorse started.
“This is the first building of a potential 10 buildings we have planned for Ironhorse,” Lange says.
There will be a total of 650,000 to 700,000 square feet in the park.
“We’re laying out more of a planned unit development here,” Lange says. “This is setting a new mark for this area.”
Look for more information on the Hyper Pet deal soon.