NorthPoint eyes Buckeye approval, begins work on Angus this week

NorthPoint eyes Buckeye approval, begins work on Angus this week

The Spring Hill Municipal Planning Commission considered the final site plan and elevations for Project Buckeye at Monday night’s work session, one of two known developments being proposed as manufacturing sites for the General Motors plant.

The Spring Hill Municipal Planning Commission considered the final site plan and elevations for Project Buckeye at Monday night’s work session, one of two known developments being proposed as manufacturing sites for the General Motors plant. NorthPoint Development of Kansas City expects the project to gain approval at the August 11th regular voting meeting, according to Project Manager RJ Agee, who once again addressed the commission.

“We are very close to revealing the names of the businesses behind the two code names,†said Agee after the meeting, referring to NorthPoint’s non-disclosure agreement that binds the company until both projects are officially approved. Project Angus, the other code-named project, received commission approval at the July 14 meeting.

RJ Agee, Project Manager for NorthPoint Development

“Usually the clients themselves come in and announce it, stealing our thunder,†Agee said. “But we still get the good feeling of knowing we’re bringing in all these jobs.â€

City engineering consultant Jerome Dempsey noted that the commission still needs “a whole traffic pattern†and a much clearer idea from NorthPoint about how the project is going to impact traffic on and around Beechcroft and Cleburne roads, where the development will be sited. “We need to know whether you all have really looked into this to see if it will work with the roads around it,†Dempsey said.

In addition to Angus and Buckeye, or buildings ‘A’ and ‘B’, NorthPoint is also projecting the theoretical possibility of two more buildings, each far larger than either A or B, in the same area.

“We are in an interesting scenario,†Agee told the Commission. “These future buildings, C and D, are at this point only sketched as general ideas of what we think they might be. But we do want to have the start of a discussion.â€

Part of the clarification on how all of the NorthPoint buildings will eventually unfold will come from the company’s planned traffic study, set to begin at the site very soon.

“We have ordered a traffic study to help you all to make a more data-driven decision,†Agee said, but also said it was “doubtful†whether any such data would become available before the 11th.

“It seems like we have some time,†said Agee. “The first shipment is not scheduled to leave the first building until the first of next year. But I do need direction from this commission to be sure it’s going to happen in this tight time frame.â€

Alderman Jonathan Duda cautioned the importance of considering the plan carefully, and gave an example of a similar local project done the right way.

“It would not serve this community well if we box ourselves in,†said Duda. “I think if you look at Royal Park Drive, that’s an example of a similar project done very well. The road supports all of the traffic that its businesses produce. And they impact overall traffic so little that probably half the people of Spring Hill aren’t even aware of what all is out there.â€

Duda added that he thought the development could handle the dispersion of new traffic, “if we have the time and resources.â€

NorthPoint is eager to conclude the approval process and move forward rapidly on both projects.

“We’re already behind where we want to be on Angus,†Agee said. “We should already have been moving dirt on it. So any further shifts [on Buckeye] need to be identified quickly.â€

Agee remarked that the Angus group had wanted a dedicated exit for its facility.

“But the best we could do was tie the circulation road into existing roads,†Agee said.

Dempsey remarked that the circulation plan inside the facility is a good one.

“They all just want the assurance that they can get their supply trucks on the road and not be locked behind cars in the parking lot,” Agee said. “Being able to get out when they need to get out is a requirement. But we don’t necessarily need separate entrances for each of the four buildings.â€

Agee asked the Commission whether it was requiring NorthPoint to commit itself to two entrances or fewer on Beechcroft, to which Duda replied that, “We don’t know the answer. Even three might be the right number.â€

It’s a question that will depend on further data from the traffic study, and further discussion with city staff regarding spacing between curb returns and safe speed limits to prevent right turns from backing into each other.

Agee said that his charge is “to have more data in your hands by next week.†He has greatly enjoyed working with the Planning Commission since being assigned to the project earlier this year.

“Many municipalities are too short-sighted,†said Agee. “But working with this commission has been great. They have done everything possible, their absolute best, to accommodate us. They have expedited reviews, they’ve tolerated poor submittals. And we have even been late on some things. But they have always walked us through the process. We are doing our best to be a good partner with the city, and we really appreciate their understanding.â€

One of the commission’s main concerns was how the entrances to the facility from Beechcroft would impact local traffic.

“We haven’t given them much more than ink on paper so far,†said Agee. “But we’re hopeful the traffic study that’s coming soon will yield the information needed to make those entrances right. You’ll probably begin to see those little tube counters [to track traffic] out on Beechcroft soon.â€

Project Angus will begin at 122,500 square feet, with plans to eventually expand a further 43,750. Project Buckeye is planned at an initial 189,840 square feet and has a projected increase of 217,560 more. As for the theoretical projects of buildings ‘C’ and ‘D’, the former is proposed to begin at 399,500 with a further expansion of 282,000, and the latter is sketched to cover 800,000 square feet.

“Angus and Buckeye are both build-a-suite developments,†Agee said. “We know exactly who they are, exactly what they need, and how they will use the facilities. They’ll handle light manufacturing for the plant. ‘C’ and ‘D’ are speculative. It’s tough to build speculative buildings because suppliers are so specific in what they make, and even more so with this tight time frame within which we’ve been working.â€

NorthPoint expects to complete construction on Project Angus by December, and on Buckeye by January.

“We’ll begin turning dirt on Angus this week,†Agee said.

Staff writer Greg Jinkerson covers Spring Hill for BrentWord Communications. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter @JinkersonGreg.

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