From your chambers of commerce
Southeast Missouri Chambers of Commerce share updates on this past year’s area developments.
Area development has been a key priority for the City of Jackson and the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce. The local leadership of Jackson is contributing a concerted effort to improve local services and infrastructure to make the community even more attractive to potential businesses.
For instance, the Jackson Industrial Development Company (JIDC) built a 50,000-square-foot industrial building in Jackson Industrial Park in an effort to recruit new industry to the area and assist in the growth and expansion of an existing industry.
Funding for this project was a regional effort, with partners from community banks, economic development groups and the Jackson Area Chamber.
Area businesses and organizations are investing in the area as they watch Jackson grow. Recent development projects such as Alliance Bank and the Montgomery Bank Conference and Training Center have reinvested in Jackson, culminating in increased jobs, residents and visitors to the area.
Uptown Jackson continues to grow and has become a lively, attractive retail district. It provides a variety of shops and special events to bring nearby residents and visitors to the area to shop and dine, while attracting new businesses to join the vibrant community.
Several exciting development projects are in the works in Sikeston. The City of Sikeston recently purchased a 265-acre farm to create the new South Industrial Park. The greenfield site is ideally located close to the intersection of I-55 and I-57 and will be a prime development area for industry and distribution. The Sikeston Regional Chamber & Area Economic Development Corp. is working toward getting the site certified through the Missouri Department of Economic Development. The new industrial park is also included in the recently designed Opportunity Zone for a southern portion of the city. This status will help spur investments and development for that area.
Sikeston is also experiencing retail growth within the city. New developments include the Malco Cinema & Grill, Zaxby's, Love's Travel Center, Watami Sushi & Hibachi Steakhouse and a new Hampton Inn, which is expected to open in August. Existing businesses such as Ultimate Flooring are also expanding their footprint in Sikeston with a new building on South Main Street.
In 2017, voters in Sikeston passed an $8 million bond issue to build a much-needed elementary school. Construction on the new Wing Elementary School will begin this fall. To keep up with residential growth in the city, area developers and city leaders have discussed the need for more residential housing. New housing options also are expected to expand on the south side of the city.
The Sikeston Regional Chamber & Area Economic Development Corp. is working with community leaders on transportation infrastructure with the Future I-57 Project. This would bring four-lane U.S. 60 up to interstate standards and expand I-57 from Sikeston to Poplar Bluff, Missouri, then south to Arkansas, connecting efforts toward a future I-57 corridor. This will help spur growth and create a Chicago to Texas market.
The Chamber continues to work closely with city leaders and the business community to be proactive toward planning for the future of Sikeston.
Poplar Bluff continues its unprecedented growth. Downtown Poplar Bluff opened a dog park, thanks to the many donations from local businesses, along with the leadership of Jerrica Fox and the vision of Downtown Poplar Bluff, Inc. Board of Directors. Downtown has also seen the opening of businesses like locally-owned Foxtrot Coffee, Haffy's Sports Bar and Bronze Owl Brewery. The Eight Points commercial development on the north side of town recently has added stores like Ross Dress for Less, Rhodes gas station, Shoe Carnival and Academy Sports, along with Scotty's Brewhouse, Jimmy John's and Imo's Pizza. The Eight Points development also has a Fairfield Inn and Aspen Denta,l due to open later this year.
Other recent openings such as Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, Ulta Beauty, Sephora and Missouri Running Company also have helped keep Poplar Bluff in the driver's seat as a regional hub for shopping, dining and healthcare. Three Rivers College has the Libla Family Sports Complex, expected to open later this year.
The final large project that will greatly enhance the Poplar Bluff area is the opening of the Shelby Road extension, also expected to be completed later this year. This road will connect the north and south ends of town, creating a parallel alternative to the busy Business Highway 67/Westwood Boulevard.
Certainly one sign of a healthy economy is development activity. The Cape Girardeau area is experiencing a tremendous number of both public and private-sector development projects, either completed, announced or in-progress over the past 18 months.
Public sector projects are plentiful. The Cape Girardeau Public School system finished significant renovations to Central Junior High. The City of Cape completed several projects, including a new police station and fire station, and renovations to another fire station. It also celebrated the opening of the SportsPlex. While the SportsPlex is technically a public-sector project, it was a partnership with Midamerica Hotels and has resulted in an increase of youth sports tournaments and additional economic activity.
The Greater Cape Girardeau Business Park is the site of the soon-to-be-opened 60,000-square-foot manufacturing facility that will house Idyllic Enterprises and SI03. These companies do several things, but most noteworthy will be the production of protein powder for the supplement industry.
Downtown Cape Girardeau is experiencing a renaissance garnering statewide praise and attention. The renovation of the Marquette Hotel is all but complete (restaurant still to come on floor 7) and houses the Chamber, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, MAGNET, Old Town Cape, Codefi and several other established companies and startups. And work soonwill be complete on the new Courtyard by Marriott Hotel in the former H&H building and the building immediately to its north.
Speaking of the hospitality industry, the new Drury Plaza Hotel and Conference Center opened to rave reviews. We have experienced an immediate boost in statewide conference bookings as a direct result of this and our strong hotelier partnerships. When competing for conferences, it is a must to have a full-service hotel with attached conference center to serve as the "host" hotel. The additional great hotels we have also serve as important resources.
Another downtown project announced but not yet underway is the renovation of the old Esquire Theater. This could end up as a 650-seat flexible theater and serve as a venue for bands, musical performers, weddings and other community events. After 33 years of vacancy, the revival of this building would be huge for the entry to downtown.
But that's not all. The Town Plaza is also seeing new development with the complete renovation of the old Sears/NARS building, including a new comedy club. And the old Venue building will soon house Dogwood Social -- a full family entertainment center. In Midtown, the Shoppes on South Kingshighway development project is underway with a new Dollar Tree and Captain D's. The intersection of North Kingshighway and Mt. Auburn is the home to a new development, including MRV Banks. And on the west side, development continues on Siemers with the addition of Buffalo Wild Wings, Panda Express and coming soon, Sugarfire Smokehouse.
The public sector projects I mentioned total more than $28 million in investments and the private sector ones exceed $40 million, conservatively. The economic impact to the area as a result of these and other projects will be felt for decades to come.