Bel Aire gets KDOT funds for Sunflower Commerce Park rail siding

Bel Aire gets KDOT funds for Sunflower Commerce Park rail siding

John Stearns
Wichita Business Journal

The city of Bel Aire is getting Kansas Department of Transportation funding to build a rail siding in the Bel Aire Sunflower Commerce Park.

The 800-acre park has a Union Pacific industrial line running through it, and with the funding package from KDOT, the siding will allow four lots totaling more than 60 acres in Phase 1 to have rail shipping capabilities, a news release says.

The project will cost about $1.3 million.

The city has been working with Buzzi Unicem to purchase a 12-acre lot on the southwest corner of 53rd and Greenwich, a deal contingent on a rail siding for Buzzi to build its $6 million facility. With the funding, the city can start work on the siding and allow for the land contract to close.

Buzzi will begin construction after the first of the year and utilize approximately 800 rail cars per year.

Marlin Penner, president of John T. Arnold Associates Commercial Real Estate, worked the deal and is responsible for marketing the Sunflower Commerce Park.

The city has two other land purchase contracts in due diligence for lots in the park: one for Shuttle Aerospace and the other a yet-to-be-announced international company. Century Manufacturing was the first business to locate in the park and has been operating for almost a year.

Jeff Lackey with TranSystems worked closely with the city in applying for funding and also was responsible for engineering of the Sunflower Commerce Park. Chuck May with Schwab-Eaton did the platting and Jeff Best of LawKingdon Architecture completed the master plan. TranSystems has completed engineering on the siding and Union Pacific has approved access to its line. Construction on the siding should begin after the first of the year.

Project funding includes: a $250,000 grant from KDOT Economic Development Division, a $316,000 grant from KDOT Freight & Rail Division, a $316,000 city match, and a $421,000 low-interest loan (2 percent for 10 years) from KDOT Freight & Rail Division.