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Posted on: September 15, 2021

Manhattan Pursuing Private Developers for Speculative Industrial Building

Manhattan, Kansas, may soon break ground on a new speculative building.

The Manhattan City Commission approved moving forward on a new program to encourage private sector speculative building for new industrial and warehousing space. The program is the ultimate example of public-private partnerships that have made Manhattan a significant player in economic development in the state of Kansas.

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the comments from our commissioners regarding the new program,” said Jason Smith, president and CEO of the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. “Our team will be working to identify private-sector investors to begin construction and hopefully attract a new, high-quality employer to the region.”

The program would allow the City of Manhattan to issue industrial revenue bonds (IRB) for a qualified speculative building project. The IRB would create a five-year tax abatement on the building and abate sales tax on construction materials. In the past, these kinds of incentives would only be available for companies creating jobs in the region.

In return, the developer will promise to build at least 50,000 square feet of modern manufacturing or warehousing space. The first lease on the facility cannot be less than 25,000 square feet. The developer will also pledge that at least one job per 2,000 square feet will be created.

“For the first time in a long time, we will have something in place to market for potential economic development projects,” said Daryn Soldan, director of economic development for the Manhattan Area Chamber of Commerce. “It’s another example of the support we receive from our city commission and their willingness to invest in economic development.”

In voice support of the project, City Commissioner Mark Hatesohl said, “This is the best idea we’ve had in over 20 years to encourage new jobs.”

After receiving approvals to move forward from all five commissioners, the staff will finalize details of the program for consideration at a city commission meeting in October.

To learn more about the program, contact Soldan at daryn@manhattan.org

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