Wyandotte County’s top economic development official is stepping down from the job to return to some familiar ground — and break new ground for his career.
Brent Miles will leave his job as president of the Wyandotte Economic Development Council on Sept. 2 to join Briarcliff Development Co. on Sept. 6.
His primary task, at least initially, will be to coordinate development and incoming business for Riverside’s 900-acre Horizons business park.
In May, the city named Briarcliff Development as master developer of the industrial and office park at Interstate 635 and Missouri Highway 9. The $300 million project has room for 1.1 million square feet of office space and 1.5 million square feet of industrial space.
The project remains in its infancy despite having at least six preceding developers since 2002. But Riverside officials said Horizons appears to finally be making progress in attracting tenants.
Mayor Kathy Rose said bids have been let on $10 million to $12 million of various infrastructure construction projects that are due on Sept. 16, with the goal that buildings will be constructed about a year from now.
“I’m very excited about what’s happening,” Rose said.
Nathaniel Hagedorn, president of Briarcliff Realty, said Miles’ track record in attracting development to Wyandotte County and his prior experience as Riverside’s development and planning coordinator made him an obvious target to take a lead on the Horizons park.
“We’ve got a lot of activity over there, and we need somebody to bird-dog everything over there,” Hagedorn said.
The move is Miles’ first foray into private-sector development.
“It was a personal goal for me to ultimately move to the private side,” he said.
Miles has been an integral player in a development surge in Kansas City, Kan., and Wyandotte County. Since his arrival in 2007, the county has had development victories ranging from GM’s commitment to invest more than $100 million in its Fairfax Assembly plant; to the June opening of a $140 million meat slicing plant by Sara Lee Corp.; to continued development near the Kansas Speedway, including the addition of Livestrong Sporting Park and new office buildings for Cerner Corp. — which had been slated to be built in Missouri. Wyandotte County also improved its business prospects and national visibility in March, when Google Inc. announced Kansas City, Kan., as the first location for an ultra-high-speed network.
Miles said he is taking the new job for the opportunity to do something different — and not because of any dissatisfaction with his previous position.
“That’s what made the decision very difficult, is that I have a great job. I love what I do,” he said. “I like doing industrial. The business park setting is fun for me. I just look at how valuable that piece of property is in Riverside.”
ARTICLE BY: KANSAS CITY BUSINESS JOURNAL – BY STEVE VOCKRODT, STAFF WRITER
Date: Friday, September 2, 2011