Development of businesses, housing stock grows in Liberty

On Nov. 21, construction workers continue to build the exterior of the new Lion’s Choice restaurant in Liberty Commons, located near Stewart Road and Conistor Street in Liberty.

LIBERTY — While 2019 is winding down, construction crews are still busy throughout the city.

Liberty City Administrator Curt Wenson and Economic Development Manager Karan Johnson said there are industrial, commercial and residential successes as well as city-led ones.

“In the last three to four years, development has been booming and that is good for the city,” Johnson said. “The city has not been without construction for all these years.”

Industrial

In the industrial project category, Johnson said the biggest project underway is the Ford Stamping Plant expansion, which includes 455,000 square feet of new work space. She said the company expects to add 230 jobs in the near future. The expansion will serve the Transit Van line as well as the F-150 truck.

While construction has not begun, Johnson said the Liberty Parkway Plaza, which was approved in early October by the Liberty City Council, will be a big addition to the city. The project is a mixed-use industrial and commercial center. Hunter Harris and Liberty Industrial Holdings LLC are offering about 976,000 square feet in industrial and commercial space. The industrial area includes three buildings, and the commercial area is eight, service-oriented retail buildings.

Three large industrial buildings will be constructed on speculation in hopes industrial businesses will quickly fill them.

Another approval is the Oakwood Business Park near the Clay County Health Center, Johnson said. This is a 15,600-square-foot building.

Commercial projects are a mix of open, under-construction and newly approved efforts by the council. In Liberty Commons, Saltgrass Steak House, an 8,000 square-foot restaurant is now open. Not far on another pad site is Lion’s Choice, a fast-food restaurant known for its roast beef sandwiches. The combined Jousting Pigs and 3Halves Brewery opened after some remodeling of the former Rock and Run area.

Liberty’s Hy-Vee has built out drive lanes and the Aisles Online building.

Under construction is a new dental office building across from the BP station on Kansas Street.

In late September, the council approved the final development plan for B&B Theater’s 26,000 square-foot office addition, a little more than a year after the Bagby family opened the flagship theater Liberty Theatres 12.

Residential

In the area of residential, Ella’s Crossing has been approved by the council. Johnson said there are 52 single-family lots that have been approved. The land is on Missouri Highway H, across from William Jewell College.

“The construction on the two hotels on (Missouri Highway) 291 near Heartland Chevrolet has been slow, but steady,” Johnson said. “I imagine openings either late in 2019 or early 2020.”

City efforts

As far as the city’s efforts, the Liberty Animal Shelter has exterior siding installation started. All exterior main doors were installed last week. In the interior, plumbing, electrical and heating and cooling rough-in work is ongoing. Final grading has started.

The shelter is being funded through a voter-approved use tax.

“We have been fortunate to see the Interstate 35 and Kansas (Street) bridge opened, but there’s still work on Kansas,” Wenson said. “We also are proud that the fire training tower is completed and we have seen various law enforcement groups using it already. The pickleball courts along Withers Road are open and the parks improvements are under construction.”

Wenson said one of the big game changers for the city is the improvements at Fountain Bluff Sports Complex.

“Coupling the hotels opening will be impactful to the sports complex,” he said. “We want people to stay in our city at our hotels, eat at our restaurants and shop at our shops. The addition of turf and a longer playing season will be helpful. We are already having teams inquire about using the fields for practice as they head south. It’s going to create a synergy here.”

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