Industrial Parks: Cities Of Industry

By the BF Staff | March/April 2020 issue


It has been called an “industrial utopia.” It is the third-largest industrial park in the United States and in the top ten globally. It is located in the heart of the largest concentration of corporate wealth in the United States serving NE Oklahoma and NW Arkansas. It is the MidAmerica Industrial Park celebrating 60 years of success, serving 80 companies and over 4500 employees. Home to Google’s second-largest Data Center in the world and the third-largest Agri-nutrition plant operated by Dupont.

How? MidAmerica is highly sustainable. Located within the boundaries of the Cherokee Nation (the nation’s largest tribe), off-the-chart ad valorem tax base that supports K-12 education and the benefits of doing business with MidAmerica as a Public Trust creates the perfect storm of resources, pro-business environment, and life amenities. An industrial Park with benefits like easy access to water, power, training, workforce and minimal zoning and permitting requirements.

History proves that MidAmerica is not only here to stay, but here to grow. Looking forward, MidAmerica is focused on building infrastructure and amenities that will support corporate growth and expansion. MidAmerica’s $2020 is the icing on the cake with a $40M incentive designed to attract new companies.

MidAmerica’s Armin Road and Igloo Valley development have 1000 acres that can be customized to fit virtually any corporate need. These developments have all utilities, roads, and environmental complete making them shovel-ready, buy today build tomorrow.

MidAmerica’s water and waste-water treatment facilities services to industrial customers with plenty of capacity to accommodate future growth.

Grand River Dam Authority is adjacent to the park providing 1900 megawatts of reliable electricity via hydro, wind, coal and natural gas at highly competitive rates.

With land, water, and power readily available, the Park’s “sense of place” is now more important than ever as a key to success. Demographics of all ages are drawn to the amenities of a big city but want the affordability, lifestyle, and convenience of a community. MidAmerica is making this a reality with their newest initiative, The District.

The District, a 162-acre development that incorporates retail, residential, parks, and trails near the Park, is set to open this year. The new development is a fusion of walkable retail areas and residential living combined with a natural environment that offers wide-open spaces and outdoor activity. It includes 32,000 square feet of retail space, a 100-unit multi-story living complex, 100 residential homes, 10 acres of parks and outdoor spaces, with connectivity via walking and biking trail systems.

Finally, to prepare for growth, MidAmerica partners on multiple fronts with area technical schools and universities. Recently the Park invested over $3 million in career centers and state-of-the-art STEM labs in18 area school districts. Additionally, MidAmerica partners with Northeast Technology Center and Rogers State University to create a new “Center of Excellence” combining technology, training, and opportunity. Implementing proven best practices in workforce development, these are just a few examples of MAIPs focus on training.

With these priorities in mind—resources, quality of life, workforce development—David Stewart, Chief Administrative Officer believes that MAIP is on a trajectory to be one of the most innovative and pro-business environments in the nation for corporate growth. “Our resources, quality of life, and workforce development initiatives will fuel MidAmerica’s growth for another 60 years.”

Many cities boast of having land for industrial development, and sometimes they are great sites with utilities and highway access. But sometimes these sites disappoint and fail to live up to expectations. There are “industrial” cornfields and “commercial” landfill sites, and then there are sites so remote and distant from utilities and roads that you have to find them using Google Earth. The alternative to these so-called development properties are to work with economic development professionals who can deliver a curated list of prime sites that exemplify a great industrial or redevelopment site.

Pre-permitted locations have many advantages when time of construction is critical. While some states and organizations have “shovel-ready” designations, there is no consistent standard across the U.S. Connecticut is one of the states where local communities control the land use permitting and the economic development staff can readily identify which sites have approvals in place. New Milford, in western Connecticut about 70 miles from Manhattan, has multiple pre-permitted sites. This offers a significant time advantage to developers who have a project that aligns with what is approved.

Read the full story here.