At a time when businesses from retailers to manufacturers are simply trying to survive the economic devastation of the coronavirus pandemic, Warren County’s Intermodal Transportation Authority is taking steps to expand available acreage in the Kentucky Transpark for future industrial growth.
The ITA, in a videoconference meeting June 17, voted to purchase another 83 acres to add to acreage in what ITA members are calling “Transpark II.”
Ron Bunch, president and chief executive officer of the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Transpark along U.S. 68-Ky. 80 (Glasgow Road) was 680 acres when it was established in 1998. A number of purchases over the years have increased the industrial park to 1,141 acres today.
The new acreage, near Glasgow Road and the CSX Railroad tracks, is an attractive addition to the Transpark, Bunch said.
“This gives us a large tract on rail that is hard to find in the state and in the broader seven-state TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority) region,” Bunch said.
The Transpark II property, which encompasses 460 acres, is already the site of the Crown Holdings aluminum-can manufacturing plant that is under construction. That 327,000-square-foot plant, which is expected to employ about 120 workers, will be one of the 18 facilities (14 businesses, two schools and two nonprofits) now located in the Transpark that have created a need for more property.
The Transpark is also home to two speculative buildings, one of 108,000 square feet and the other of 60,000 square feet.
“The original part of the Transpark is mostly full,” said Gary Dillard, chairman of the ITA. “It’s remarkable how far it has come.”
Bunch said the next step for the new property, which was acquired from the James Wilson family at $20,000 per acre, will be development of utilities and roads.
Dillard said it’s important to have industrial land that is ready to be developed.
“It once took companies a year or more to decide where they were going to locate a plant,” Dillard said. “Now they’re making those decisions quickly. You must have property that is ready to go if you want to attract these companies.”
Attracting new employers in the current depressed environment may not be easy, but Bunch said he already sees signs that local employers are recovering from the coronavirus slowdown.
He estimates that the Transpark is home to nearly 2,700 employees now, not far from pre-coronavirus levels.
“All companies that were shut down or cut back have begun ramping back up,” Bunch said.