By Adam Strunk
The City of Newton will sell a sizable chunk of the Kansas Logistics Park to a national roofing material manufacturer.
The City Commission voted 5-0 to sell 230 acres of property to GAF Materials for $1.8 million.
“Everybody is eager to close that chapter and see some progress on it and see a new manufacturer come in along with the investment in our community, as well as the opportunity for additional jobs in our community,” Mayor Richard Stinnett said of the long undeveloped property.
“This is how these things are packaged up in the commercial world. Companies go seek out their land and find it and then the details come later. That’s what we don’t know right now. I’d let the public know once GAF decides how they are going to develop the land, how they will use and what they’re going to do on it, the city will know and the public will know. I don’t even know if GAF actually has a firm plan in place.”
The action followed a 30-minute executive session including city administration, the city commission and attorney Chris Towle held under attorney-client privilege.
GAF Materials is the largest manufacturer of roofing materials in the country and has a wide array of facilities nationwide. Many newer facilities construct plastics and sheeting materials for roofing. Other plants manufacture asphalt shingles.
Per previous agreements, the city had the option to purchase the 230 acres back from Tindall Corporation for $1.18 million. Tindall, a windmill company, previously purchased the property and never developed the land. Should GAF decide to buy the land following a due diligence period, the city would exercise its option and then sell the property to GAF.
Net proceeds would be split between the city and county with the county receiving a 34 percent share per a 2010 memo of understanding between the two bodies.
The future property would be subject to a development agreement between the city and GAF pertaining to incentives and anything else the company would need, as well as any state and federal regulations that would apply.
Additional action at the meeting was sparse.
The city will issue new bonds to pay off existing bonds to take advantage of lower interest rates. City staff estimates the new issuance will save the city $510,728.
The re-issuance does not extend the bond timelines.
“We’re just saving money,” Finance Director Donna Pickman said.
“I love how you can turn over those rocks and save us money,” Stinnett said.
This is the fourth time the city has refinanced bonds since the pandemic, taking advantage of historically low interest rates.
“The market is favorable to issuers of municipal bonds,” Pickman said.
The city also will publish a legal notice looking for owners or heirs of a specific set of cemetery plots at Greenwood Cemetery. A family was looking to purchase plots so their relatives could be buried together and adjacent lots had not been used for 50 years and deemed abandoned. However, to resell the lots, the city would have to resolve the existing ownership claims on them.