American Outdoor Brands has re-evaluated its design for a national distribution center that will be built in Boone County after securing an additional 22 acres for the development.
The hunting and shooting supply company has been cooking up a plan since May to build the center between Route Z and East St. Charles Road, just north of Interstate 70 and Camping World, with the hopes of completing it by the end of 2018.
The distribution center will create an estimated 328 jobs, 154 of those within the first three years.
In early September, the company got approval to secure a 22-acre parcel northwest of the 188 acres it already had purchased. The extra land will allow the company to move the $42 million building from the center of the property to near Route Z.
The move will save space that could be used for future development. It also means the previous design had to be reconsidered and new traffic studies done.
On Thursday morning, Boone County Chief Engineer Jeff McCann brought the Boone County Commission up to date on the project. He said the project is about 12 months from completion if the county were to come in now and start from scratch on engineering road improvements intended to accommodate the company.
In order to gain back some ground, American Outdoor Brands is pushing to use the $1.8 million in Community Development Block Grant funding for the project on construction rather than engineering.
McCann said if the company pays for its own engineers, it could cut its timeline by two or three months because it wouldn’t have to spend that time getting the county up to speed on the specifics. McCann emphasized that the county and the Missouri Department of Transportation would both maintain oversight on the company’s plans.
One bonus that would come from the switch is $100,000 in extra cash for construction that could be used to alleviate some of the traffic issues anticipated from the project.
Grant money of $1.6 million had already been locked in for off-site purposes such as traffic. Those projects include additional turn lanes for employee entrances on Clark Lane and an additional lane on the eastbound I-70 off-ramp.
McCann said the new traffic studies show that a dedicated lane on the off-ramp would not only be key to handling congestion in the short term, but would handle any pressure from future development.
With the extra $100,000, McCann said, some additional traffic projects to accommodate future development could be built right away, including a left turn pocket on Route Z.