Graves: City To Attract Industries - The Missourian: Union

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Graves: City To Attract Industries

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Posted: Wednesday, January 2, 2013 9:30 am | Updated: 8:54 pm, Sat Jun 22, 2013.

In 2012, the city of Union became the first in the state to have major certifications from AT&T, Ameren Missouri and Missouri Department of Economic Development.

That is one accomplishment that will put the city on the map in 2013, according to Community Development Director Joseph Graves.

In September, the Union Corporate Center (UCC) became the first AT&T Certified FiberPark in the county and will provide new technology advantages to industries.

That same week, it was announced that a 30-acre site in the UCC is the state’s first Ameren Elite site, Graves noted. The same 30-acre site was named a Missouri Department of Economic Development certified site last year.

“We are the only community in the state that can say that we have all three certifications,” he said. “When companies look to expand they hire a site consultant. With those certifications, we keep our site in the mix much longer because we have already answered questions they have — it keeps us on top of the list longer.”

Those answers include planning and zoning, archeological, wetlands and other requirements.

“We are poised to land a good project in the very near future, in part, because of these certifications,” Graves said.

FiberParks have access to the quickest Internet speed. The fiber optic cables are installed to the UCC, and businesses with the industrial park must make connections. The UCC is one of just of seven FiberParks in central and eastern Missouri.

The other parks are in Moberly, Mexico, St. Peters, Kirksville, O’Fallon and St. Charles.

With the Ameren Elite status comes an architectural and engineered stamped drawing for a 60,000-square-foot facility that can be shown to potential industrial clients virtually.

Growth in 2012

According to Graves, there were some businesses that moved to Union, and others that expanded.

Climate Express trucking firm relocated its operations from Commercial Drive near Highway 47 between Union and Washington, to Progress Drive in the Union Corporate Center.

It is a full-service carrier, including local deliveries and warehousing, with regional and long-haul transportation.

A new 7,500-square-foot office and a 27,000-square-foot shop were built on the 11.4 acres of the industrial park.

It was completed in 2012.

“They constructed a beautiful building in UCC and now have over 100 employees based in Union,” Graves said.

Prestige Technical Services LLC also moved into the city’s industrial park. Prestige provides general maintenance and service for commercial beverage machines in seven states. It employs about 30 people.

“The economy is still a bit slow in the nation and world, but I believe Union has certainly been able to ride the storm quite well,” Graves said. “We are looking forward to things picking up in the future.”

Looking Ahead

Graves noted that Corro-Tech, also located in the UCC, is in the process off expanding; while Innovative Machine, located of Independence Drive, is completing an expansion project and hiring is expected to hire additional staff.

Graves said Huellinghoff Brothers Inc., a trucking firm off Denmark Road, has purchased 6 acres in the UCC and is expected to construct a new facility next year.

There also are other businesses that should announce expansion plans next year.

“I have been speaking with a couple of local industries that will expand in footprint and work force,” Graves said. “I hope to announce a couple of industry expansions in 2013 that will be hiring additional employees.”

There also are plans for St. Louis-based Benchmark Healthcare, LLC, to build in Union. The Benchmark facility will be located at the intersection of St. Andrews Drive and Denmark Road.

Construction cost is estimated at $7.5 million. Work tentatively will begin in February 2013.

The facility will feature state-of-the-art amenities and infrastructure to improve and modernize the quality of care in the area. The development is expected to create about 90 full-time jobs in Union,

“We are excited to see Benchmark build its nursing facility on St. Andrews Drive, “Graves said, “and it is expected to grow annually.”

There also are plans for a redesign and revitalization of the city’s website,www.ci.union.mo.us, and the city’s economic development site, www.unionmoed.com.

“We’re excited for the economy to reignite and keep moving Union forward,” Graves said.

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