Charles Johnson of CH Johnson Consulting of Chicago reviews findings of a market survey with members of the Agri-Business Expo Center property committee and future users.
As design work begins for the Agri-Business Expo Center, preliminary surveys of users show strong support for the facilities.
Charles Johnson presented the initial findings of a validation report his agency had conducted and led a roundtable discussion on Dec. 20. The St. Joseph location provides an opportunity to attract users from the four-state area of Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas, Johnson’s research found.
“People expressed a high degree of interest in the project,” he said. “We have an ambition that will include both events and permanent tenants. We will interface with universities and deepen the state’s role in opportunities within the life sciences.”
Design work has begun on the 150-acre campus located just east of St. Joseph on U.S. Highway 36. Populous, the nation’s leading design firm for agriculture and equestrian facilities, is the lead architecture consultant. Snyder & Associates of St. Joseph has been selected as the engineering firm for the site design. In addition, Alfred Benesch & Co. is designing the interchange on U.S. Highway 36 which will access the property.
“As we dialogue with the businesses and organizations who will use the facilities, we are developing a clear idea of what the campus should include,” said Sharon Cornelius, chief executive of the Agri-Business Expo. “The architects and engineers we are working with will help us create a facility that will serve our community for years to come.”
Kent Brooner, chair of the Agri-Business Expo Center property committee, reviews the proposed layout of the 150-acre campus with David Forkner, architect with Populous.
Populous senior planner David Forkner said that in similar venues around the country, the exhibit hall and arena create a demand for commercial businesses such as hotels, restaurants and retail. That is why the Agri-Business Expo Center campus includes a commercial park. This facility will be located on the east side of the property close to the new interchange. Work on the Commercial Park is expected to be the first completed on the site.
Johnson’s validation report expects the center to host about 100 events per year, plus a regular farmers market. Events will include industry trade shows and conventions with many events expected to repeat each year. Activities such as 4-H and FFA also indicated a strong demand for the facilities.
“These youth organizations are quite active in the jurisdiction, but a weakness is the absence of venues,” Johnson said.
Overall, respondents indicated there is an unmet need for conference space, particularly on the north side of the region.
The Agri-Business Expo Center continues to raise funds to build the agriculture campus. All gifts are tax deductible. For more information, visit the web site www.agribusinessexpocenter.com.