At its first meeting since November, the Community Development Advisory Board (CDAB) recommended the city sell two lots in the West End Business Park.
If approved by the city council, the lots will be sold to two businesses already in Derby: Aircraft & Commercial Enterprises (ACE) and Ten Talent, LLC.
In 1999, the city developed the second addition of the Derby Industrial Park, commonly known as the West End Business Park. The goal of the development was to increase the availability of affordable land for new or expanding businesses.
At 30 acres, the park currently houses businesses such as BRG Precision Products, Mockery & Sons Machine Co., and ICS Collision Center.
ACE, part of the Derby market since 2007, purchased a lot in the business park in 2016 – which allowed the business to expand while remaining in the city. In lieu of any incentives, the city sold the lot to ACE for $1.
Recently, ACE approached the city requesting a similar arrangement to purchase a one-acre lot directly north of its current facility.
“They are growing incredibly and wanting to increase employment, increase space,” Development Manager Marcia Hartman said.
With 38 employees and the prospect of two to five more, ACE specializes in aircraft service and identification products. Owner Mike Helmer hopes to expand their operations with a 7,500- to 10,000-square-foot addition, which has an estimated value of $700,000 to $1 million.
CDAB also recommended the city sell the lot directly south of ACE’s facility to Ten Talent, LLC – a lawn maintenance and landscaping company that has been in Derby since 2013.
The business, which also works on sprinkler systems, is currently located at 2444 N. Nelson Dr. and employs 12 people. Over the next five years, Ten Talent anticipates hiring 10 to 12 additional employees.
“[The owner] sat down with us and talked to us about how much money he could invest in the building if he didn’t have to spend as much on the property,” Hartman said.
Owner Brent Topham hopes to expand the business by constructing a new 8,000-square-foot facility in the West End Business Park, in which Topham expects to have a small-engine repair shop in the future.
The estimated value of the proposed expansion is $550,000.
If the city council approves CDAB’s recommendations, the two lots will be sold at $1 each, and City Attorney Jacque Butler will form contracts for the sales.
Hartman said the lots are currently for sale at 70 cents per square foot, but selling the lots for $1 to each business would be advantageous for encouraging capital investment and job creation.
“As part of our economic development plan, we’re retention-heavy compared to recruiting,” she said. “We want to keep businesses in Derby.”
Also part of the contracts will be a stipulation that each business must complete development within a certain timeframe or risk losing ownership of the lot they purchase.
“We wouldn’t recommend a deal to the city council that we sell a lot for a dollar if there wasn’t a specific performance mechanism that [the businesses] were going to build … and be productive for the city,” City Engineer Dan Squires said at the meeting.
Besides maintaining Derby’s three-year economic plan, CDAB’s primary objectives are to make recommendations to the city council on development projects, and advocate for policy and programs to improve economic conditions.
CDAB’s primary objectives are to maintain Derby’s three-year economic plan, make recommendations to the city council on development projects, and advocate for policy and programs to improve economic conditions.
The board meets quarterly but canceled its previous meeting, which was scheduled for February.
Having approved its 2019-2020 schedule, CDAB is set to meet again at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 14, Nov. 6, Feb. 12, and May 6 at the Panther Room in City Hall.