Center Junction work stirs up rumors

Monday, August 14, 2006

Bulldozers and trackhoes have been moving dirt at Center Junction in recent weeks, which is stirring up more than the earth. It's also riling up all the old rumors -- Home Depot, Walgreens, Wal-Mart. You know the drill.

But Bob Hahn, vice president of development for MidAmerica Hotels Corp, said Midamerica Hotels Corp. -- which owns the property along Interstate 55 -- is in the first stages of building a new road that will eventually connect to Southeast Missouri State University's new research and technology park.

"We're wanting to get the first stages of Technology Park Drive underway," Hahn said.

Midamerica, owned by the Jim Drury family, is building 1,000 feet of roadway near the Missouri Veterans Home. Hahn said other property owners will need to become involved as the work proceeds.

"The road will allow for some development on both sides," Hahn said.

But no announcement about a megadeal is imminent, he said.

"We're working every day on developing some users, but at this point and time we have no firm commitment," he said.

The big name you'll hear in coffee shops across town is Home Depot. I brought the name up to Hahn, who said this: "All I'll say is they're aware it," he said, referring to the Drury-owned property.

Hahn had some nice things to say about Home Depot.

"It would be nice to have Home Depot in Cape Girardeau on our property or on somebody else's property," Hahn said. "It would be a nice addition to the city and to Jackson. But we know if they're looking seriously at Cape, they're looking at other locations, too. They know their market area and they know where they want to be."

As far as the dirt work that's going on now, Hahn said it will also make the property easier to market if the road is in and graded has been done.

A Home Depot spokesman, by the way, said he couldn't confirm that the chain was interested in the Cape Girardeau market.

"We might be in conversation with a local developer," said spokesman Yancey Casey, "but we don't confirm that until all the I's are dotted and all the T's are crossed."

* HealthPoint to start $3 million expansion: Construction is expected to get started later this month on Southeast Missouri Hospital's HealthPoint Plaza expansion, said operations manager Bill Logan.

The work -- with an estimated price of $3 million -- will take up to a year to complete, but Logan said the fitness center is not expected to close during the work. The 13,260-square-foot expansion will include the addition of a second swimming pool for lap swimming and faster-paced water aerobic programs, additional group exercise rooms and office space. The locker rooms, the fitness concourse, free weight area and child-care services will also be expanded, he said.

The second pool will be a four-lane lap pool that will connect to the existing pool, he said. The center is at 2126 Independence St.

* S&W Cabinets buys former Columbia Sportswear building: A 75,000-square-foot sportswear apparel manufacturing plant will be transformed into an industrial cabinet manufacturing and warehousing facility in Chaffee, Mo.

Tom Kelsey, commercial broker with Lorimont Place Ltd. who represented the owner in the recent sale, said the former sewing plant built for Columbia Sportswear back in 1989 and expanded in 1994 has been sold to S&W Cabinets, Inc. The Chaffee-based company is expanding its operations and presently has a manufacturing plant adjacent to the newly acquired building at 490 Cummins Drive as well as one east of town on Route M.

Kelsey said the building sale included 9.6 acres of property in the Chaffee Industrial Park, just off of Highway 77. The industrial facility features 35,000 square feet of manufacturing area and 40,000 square feet of warehouse. Columbia Sportswear had closed the plant several years ago in a national cost-cutting measure. The building was owned by Penzel & Co. and had been used for various warehouse storage projects prior to the recent sale.

S&W began operations in 1954 and has gradually expanded its wood products operations over recent years. They manufacture custom wooden and laminated cabinets, counter tops and casework. They sell and build custom cabinets and components for commercial, industrial, institutional and residential applications.

Kelsey said the sale closed last week. No sales price was disclosed, but the Lorimont Web site listed the property at $1,150,000. He thought the new owner would begin occupying the building sometime after the first of September. It was unclear how many new jobs the expansion would create.

* Update on Eugene's gift certificates: Martha Parsons, who recently closed Eugene's Hair Salon in Cape Girardeau, has taken a new job as a "total care specialist." And she wants her old customers to know this: She will redeem Eugene gift certificates for services.

After reporting that Eugene's was closing last month, I received several calls and e-mails from customers wanting to know how to redeem their Eugene's gift certificates. Parsons has taken a job at Techniques at 1461 N. Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau, where she will be doing skin-care massage, manicures and pedicures.

Parsons said the expiration dates on the gift certificates still apply.

Scott Moyers is the business editor of the Southeast Missourian. Send your comments, business news, information or questions to "Biz Buzz," 301 Broadway, Cape Girardeau, Mo., 63702-0699, or e-mail them to smoyers@semissourian.com or call (573) 335-6611, extension 137.

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