Plans

Rail park developers hope to have two buildings constructed within about one year.

The first buildings for a long-awaited rail-supported warehouse are scheduled to start construction in the next few months, developers said during the El Campo City Council session Monday night.

City council unanimously approved annexing 130.3 acres of the Southwest Industrial Gateway Business Park at the session with Councilman Jeff Allgayer not present.

“It’s finally coming to fruition. I look forward to doing more business with you,” Mayor Pro Tem Philip Miller told the attorney representing developers Stonemont Financial Group shortly after the vote.

“I just want this project,” Councilwoman Gloria Harris said.

The land, as of Monday night, had been placed in escrow shortly before the meeting with the sale anticipated to close on Tuesday.

“We know there was justifiable doubt about the project as we took on more twists and turns, but all of those were necessary to get to this point,” said a letter signed by Zack Markwell and David Burch for Stonemont Financial Group.

It added, “We hope that our land closing gives more comfort to the council and the city residents about our commitment. We look forward to many good years together as partners in El Campo’s future success.”

Although Councilman John Hancock has remained adamant for months that developers should release their financials before any additional dollars are spent, he voted in favor of the annexation Monday night without comment.

The City Development Corporation of El Campo has approved up to $3 million for water and sewer lines to the site and the city has spent about $500,000 on design work preparing for those extensions.

The developers’ letter indicates that one tenant for the new park has already been secured. The company, however, was not named with the letter only saying that it would need a 100,000- to 125,0000-square-foot building, or one roughly five times the size of the local Walmart.

“Immediately after the land closing (Tuesday), we will begin the final engineered drawings to submit for construction permits,” the developers letter read. “We would hope to submit for permits shortly after year end and plan to deliver the first two buildings within 12 months of receiving building permits.”

One will be for the secured tenant. The other is currently planned as a 200,000-square foot spec warehouse.

“The railroad improvements will be constructed simultaneously with those first two buildings and will be completed within the same time frame,” the letter read.

The rail park or SWIG is a 540-acre development at the intersection of County Road 421 and U.S. 59.

A 2017 report on the economic impact of the park prepared for the CDC projects 149 jobs to be created by the park within 20 years of its start with $100 million added to the tax rolls.

During that first 20-year time frame, it’s expected to provide about $7 million in sales tax revenue for the city of El Campo, $31 million in property tax for ECISD and about $5 million for the West Wharton County Hospital District.

Developers are Stonemont, Ridgeline Property Group, Kansas City Southern and NAI Partners.

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