The City of St. Joseph is pursuing contract negotiations with K.C. Bobcat to purchase the water protection line maintenance and recycling center facility on the South Belt Highway.
Sewer employees at that location are moving to a new facility at the intersection of Hickory and South Fourth streets. The land is too large to house only the recycling center, so the city decided to sell it.
The location and existing structure at 3405 S. Belt Highway are ideal for K.C. Bobcat, officials with the company said.
“We identified St. Joe as a place that we’d like to consider opening a new branch. That started roughly six months ago,” said Randy Vickers, the real estate manager for Berry Companies, the parent company for K.C. Bobcat. “In that process, we’ve looked at a variety of buildings. We prefer to find existing buildings, and then the city building came on the map.”
The spot was a good opportunity for K.C. Bobcat.
“This is a great location, great visibility on a very busy street,” said Tim O’Bryan, the president K.C. Bobcat. “There’s a lot of opportunity here in St. Joe, and we’re excited about coming to town.”
The company would sell, service and rent Bobcat equipment and attachments out of the facility, which would include a showroom.
“We’ll have pretty much a full-line offering from the Bobcat compact equipment, so track loaders, excavators, skid steers, some utility vehicles and other compact construction equipment, plus a lot of attachments,” O’Bryan said.
K.C. Bobcat plans to bring seven new jobs and anticipates about $6 million in total sales the first year it opens. The company said it would invest $7 million to $10 million into St. Joseph, including at least $100,000 to renovate the existing structure.
“It’s really a great mix of construction and ag business (in St. Joseph), and we like a little bit of both,” O’Bryan said. “It gives us more flexibility as the economy goes up and down. It’s just a great mix. Great people up here, too, so we’re excited.”
All members of the St. Joseph City Council agreed to move forward with negotiations, except Gary Roach, who passed on the vote.
“It will bring jobs,” City Councilwoman Brenda Blessing said. “I think it will bring industry. The more that we can bring to show that we’re growing and welcoming new companies coming in, I think is important for the continued growth of St. Joe.”
City staff will negotiate with K.C. Bobcat on a price for the facility, which could open by the end of the year.
While sewer employees already have a place to go, the city is looking for a new recycling center location, possibly at a lot north of Horizon Outdoor just a few blocks south of the current spot.
“We’ve relocated the recycling center two or three times over the years, and we can certainly do it again and let everybody know where it is,” St. Joseph Mayor Bill McMurray said. “Recycling is important, and we’ll keep that going.”
The city council is excited to bring a new business to town that will help supply construction equipment to residents and other companies in town.
“Any opportunity for new business to come to St. Joseph is always a good thing,” City Councilman Madison Davis said. “We always try to encourage it and see what we can do to help it along.”