Stillwater’s 65-acre industrial park offers parcels for small businessesPublished: Wednesday, August 22, 2018 By: Jennifer Sharpe Source: The Journal Record
More than half of a land gift to the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce is being used to attract and retain businesses in the area.
In April, the chamber broke ground on Commerce Place, a 65-acre industrial park on N. Perkins Road (Highway 177) and E. Airport Road. The land is part of the roughly 100-acre gift given to the chamber in 2015 by the Stillwater Industrial Foundation.
The $1.7 million project came with some challenges, said Justin Minges, president and CEO of the Stillwater Chamber of Commerce. There were utilities buried under the ground and grading to be done, and a fiber line had to be installed. By Stillwater getting this work done already, it makes the site more move-in ready.
“With all that work done, we feel that our community is far more competitive now,” he said.
Along Perkins Road, there are 23 acres zoned general commercial.
“That highway is highly traveled,” said Minges. “A little island of commercial within that industrial area will help bridge the gap from commercial development to the south, residential traffic, and traffic heading to the turnpike.”
Ideally, the commercial development would support the industrial area as well as general traffic, so potential tenants might be a gas station or hardware store, he said.
The site is connected to the Stillwater Central Railroad spur. On the east of the spur, there are 42 acres zoned general industrial. The parcels range in size from 0.5 acres to more than 18 acres. There are 6 acres that are for small-lot industrial users.
The small plots are a new product to the area and are a needed amenity, Minges said.
He credits the idea to offer the smaller parcels back to conversations about tenants coming out of incubators in the technology center as well as the entrepreneurship college at Oklahoma State University, and the chamber’s desire to find space for those companies.
“Locally, there’s plenty of land zoned light industrial, but if you are doing something with chemicals or foam, you have to be industrial general,” Minges states. “That used to mean that you would have to buy 30 acres and put up a 100,000-square-foot facility. Today, with the way technology has gone, some of these companies only need an acre and maybe 5,000 to 8,000 square feet.”
XploSafe and MaxQ have already purchased space at Commerce Place. XploSafe Financial Operations Manager and co-founder Shoaib Shaikh said the park offers the company the ability to customize its workspace.
“The challenge that we have always faced is that, in most places around, you cannot find buildings that are designed to house office space, a lab area and a manufacturing line,” he said. In addition to being able to create that ideal blend of space, Shaikh said that the main attraction of Commerce Place is that all of the zoning and ground work is already done.
Minges said the excitement over the project continues to grow.
“We haven’t had a large-scale industrial park developed in town in several years,” he said.
Commerce Place should be completed in early September pending the completion of an industrial access road and one last water line project.