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Negotiations ongoing for sale of Clark Co. site to expanding business

Konecranes exceeds predictions, adding 100 jobs.

Konecranes Region Americas is still in negotiations on a lease-to-own deal with the county to purchase the agricultural services building, but the business has already significantly exceeded the number of jobs it said it would add there.

Clark County commissioners offered to sell the building to the company for $800,000 in April and thought they were close to reaching a lease-purchase agreement last week that called for Konecranes to pay more than $66,600 each month for 12 months.

But negotiations are ongoing as the commercial crane maker recently asked the county to reduce the price after a review by a firm hired by Konecranes revealed multiple issues with the condition of the building at 4400 Gateway Blvd.

Konecranes first entered into a five-year lease on the building in 2012, seeking to use it as a global training facility and providing 25 new jobs. But the company has exceeded those expectations and has created up to 100 new jobs so far.

Horton Hobbs, vice president of economic development for the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce’s Community Improvement Corp., said the company has also made significant improvements to the building.

“This company has done way more than they promised they would do. They have made a positive contribution to the overall growth of jobs in this community,” Hobbs said.

The property needs deferred maintenance and the company would need to seal cracks in the concrete, replace deteriorated concrete leading to the main entry doors, at the flag pole and near the storage building, according to the report.

The firm also indicated that a portion of the building will need to be redesigned to install a male and female bathroom that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“The property appears to be in good condition with relatively little evidence of major structural or mechanical distress,” according to the report obtained by the Springfield News-Sun.

Konecranes officials said the company was approached about purchasing the building and discussions between it and the county are preliminary.

“Knowing as a business that we do want to grow, that is why we are considering the space,” said Todd Blair, a spokesman for Konecranes.

Blair said he couldn’t comment on specifics of the negotiations process.

Clark County Administrator Nathan Kennedy said the county submitted a new asking price for the building last week and are waiting for Konecranes response.

Kennedy declined to provide the dollar figure.

Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said the asking price for the building will remain close to $800,000.

“We’re going to recover at least the cost of renovating Springview and we’ll recover more than that with the lease payments we’ve gotten from (Konecranes),” and lease payments from other agencies that moved from the agricultural building to the Springview Government Center.

Commissioner David Hartley said the county should sell the building for $900,000 or more, based on the county’s appraisals.

“Are we going to provide every business with a building under value?” he said.

One appraisal valued the building at $900,000, another said it was valued at about $700,000. In addition, a Clark County Auditor’s Office statement of value indicated the building was worth $1 million. Midland Properties report valued it at about $750,000.

Clark County Commissioner John Detrick scoffed at Hartley’s assessment and questioned his economic development and job growth efforts in the county.

It’s critical that the county reach an agreement with Konecranes, Detrick said, because of the company’s impact on the local economy.

Detrick said the company is one of the area’s top employers and hasn’t asked for tax incentive for the project.

He said once the building is sold, the company would likely provide about $25,000 in property taxes to the area.

Detrick also likened Konecranes impact of growing from 300 to 400 employees in Springfield to General Electric’s recent decision to bring 2,000 jobs to Cincinnati.

Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce officials estimated in 2012 that Konecranes global training facility would bolster the local economy by an estimated $8 million.

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