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Stonemont Financial

PRESS / April 3, 2018

Construction Project of $500M Jerseyville Logistics Park Announced

JERSEYVILLE — Construction on a new $500 million rail-served logistics park that could create upwards of 1,000 new jobs in Jerseyville could begin by this summer.

On Friday officials announced the development of the Mid-American International Gateway Business Park, a 1,400 acre development near Crystal Lake Road southeast of Jerseyville. Served by the Kansas City Southern Railroad, as planned it would include logistics, assembly and manufacturing.

While some were talking about business and development, many also spoke about providing opportunities for young adults so they don’t have to leave the area.

“This is huge for our community,” said Jersey Community High School Principal Cory Breden, who was in the crowd of approximately 400 people who came out for the announcement. “I grew up in Jerseyville and chose to come back here and work. We have a lot of our kids who do move on. They go to college and there’s not a lot of opportunity here.”

The project has been in development for about four years and is a collaboration between the Stonemont Financial Group, an Atlanta-based private real estate investment firm, the KCS and the Jerseyville Economic Development Council.

The announcement was made at the TriCounty FS Inc. on East County Road.

Shari Albrecht, executive director of the Jerseyville Economic Development Council, said the business park will be built on approximately 1,400 acres east of the existing KCS rail line.

“There’s work being done now even though you can’t see it,” she said after the announcement. “Stonemont has control of the property and is doing the environmental (work). We expect that to be finished in May and we expect dirt to be turned in summer.”

The first customer should be shipping or receiving produce within a year, according to Albrecht.

While the official project cost is estimated at about $500 million, that number is flexible, and could reach even higher, according to Zack Markwell, president and CEO of Stonemont Financial Group.

“Those numbers move around,” he said.

He added that the idea behind the project is to connect “the Midwest to Mexico and what’s in between.”

“The beauty of that, which is often looked over, is the north-bound and south-bound traffic,” he said. “While we see a lot of the manufacturers coming out of Mexico and providing distribution here, those empty cars can turn around with product that is manufactured here and go back south.”

Developers are also seeking foreign trade zone status for the project in conjunction with America’s Central Port. Foreign trade zones are areas where imported goods can be unloaded, stored, repacked, sorted, mixed, or otherwise manipulated without being subject to import duties until they leave the zone.

Markwell was enthusiastic about the project.

“We feel very good. It is our full expectation to see buildings within the next 12 months,” he said.

He added that once the infrastructure is in place the first developments would probably be logistics and warehousing, then hopefully expand to assembly and manufacturing facilities.

“Projects like this we’ve done around the country typically will start distribution, and everything comes up around that,” he said.

Jerseyville Mayor Bill Russell called it “probably the largest impact that our area will ever see.”

While the land is currently outside of city limits, Jerseyville has plans to annex the property.

However, there are a number of unanswered questions.

Specific financial incentives by local or state government were not discussed, and although the need to expand U.S. 67 was mentioned several times, no specifics or timetable was given.

“They all know the importance of (U.S.) 67 being finished,” Russell said after the meeting “This development will drive that completion. A lot of the engineering is done. We’re confident this project will move this along.”

Reach reporter Scott Cousins at 618-208-6447.

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