Archive for Thursday, November 18, 2004

Lansing seen as a city with expanding possibilities

November 18, 2004

Business owners in the Kansas City metro area looking to expand their market are considering northwest to Lansing.

"The majority of developers I visit with are from Kansas City," said Shanae Randolph, director of economic development for the city of Lansing. "I think they see we have the market here. We have a community that is really developing, and they see we can easily accommodate their business."

Along with community development director John Jacobson, Randolph is a point of contact for businesses that are looking to expand or move into Lansing.

Those visits are on the upswing, city officials say.

Randolph's boss, city administrator Mike Smith, said he'd seen more inquiries in the past six months from businesses interested in locating in Lansing than he'd experienced in his five years on the job.

"We get a lot of interest" already, Randolph said.

Randolph attributes the rise in interest to several factors, among them the city's marketing efforts, continuing development of the Kansas Highway 7 corridor spurred on by projects around the Kansas Speedway and the city's business incentive policy.

Marketing efforts have included promotion of the city and its budding Towne Center project. Earlier this year, the city participated in a "Leavenworth County Community Profiles" special section in Ingram's, a Kansas City business magazine. The Lansing page touted Towne Center as ultimately being able to provide "an excellent alternative to metro shopping."

As for Towne Center, Randolph says interest from potential tenants is high.

"I think it's going to be very successful," she said.

The Ingram's piece also called attention to the private industrial parks on the city's south side.

Such enterprises, Randolph said, are important to Lansing's economic development efforts.

They have helped to fill what had been a void in available business space. The Greenamyre family opened the Lansing Business Center industrial park and is planning to add office space in two Main Street developments.

Jeremy Greenamyre said a tenant for the Lansing Business Center could be announced in early 2005, plus the family continues to pursue leads on other potential tenants.

The Larkin Industrial Park is another private industrial park just south of the Lansing Business Center. For smaller operations, Lansing resident Danny Asher is developing a retail and office strip mall on North Main Street.

"A lot of businesses are wanting to expand, and they're needing someone to do the creative things that the Ashers and Greenamyres are doing," Randolph said.

Other economic development efforts by the city include a "marketing packet" with information on the city that is sent to prospective businesses, plus regular attendance at trade shows, such as the Kansas Sampler Festival and the League of Kansas Municipalities annual meeting, to promote Lansing.

Now in her third year with the city, Randolph is quick to send praise for economic development successes up the institutional ladder.

"We have a City Council that is willing to give the extra effort to be successful," she said.

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