The City of Cape Girardeau’s land development plan at I-55 and LaSalle Avenue could be moving forward Monday. In 2012, City leaders announced an ambitious goal to turn the 247-acre university demonstration farm into the Greater Cape Girardeau Business Park. Now with almost 50 acres sold so far, the City is announcing its plans to sell all remaining parcels to Touchdown Developer Group LLC to finish building-out the land.

“We are excited about the development plans and anticipate the property becoming more of a performing asset rather than a financial liability,” said City Manager Dr. Kenneth Haskin.

The Southeast Missouri University Foundation originally sold the land to the City for $6 million, which would be paid over 12 years from casino revenues. The down payment was provided by the Greater Cape Girardeau Benevolent Association’s sale of remaining property available at the Nash Road Industrial Park. Some infrastructure improvements have already been funded with Community Development Block Grants. The parcels sold to date included

• 2014 - Crisp Realty Co (Pepsi), approx. 18 acres, $72,000
• 2016 – Idyllic / SI03, Derek Cornelius, Karla Cornelius, approx. 14 acres, $350,000
• 2017 - Drury Development Corp, approx. 12 acres, $937,500

This past summer, City staff were looking at up to $6.5 million unfunded infrastructure needs in addition to the remaining land payments. At the time, the U.S. Economic Development Administration told the City the business park was too underdeveloped to be a strong candidate for grant funding. Following review, City officials decided to let the private sector develop the land.

“After a thorough cost-benefit review, it has been determined that this is in the city’s best interest,” said City Manager Dr. Kenneth Haskin. “The park is way too expensive for the city to develop on its own. Selling the property to a private developer makes good business sense.”

The development plan is private until the sale is final over the next few months. Council could approve the Special Warranty Deed at their Monday meeting which is the next step in the process to sell the remaining land. The final sale would eliminate the looming $6.5 million infrastructure costs and the annual debt payments of $460,000.

“The intent from the beginning was to acquire land for development purposes. Partnering with a developer achieves that goal without the debt,” said Haskin.

More information will be available after the final property closing date.


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