2015 would be a tough year to top in terms of capital investment. There were some landmark private sector projects that brought in new businesses to our community: The Wal-Mart Distribution Center (yes we have a Wal-Mart and a Sam’s Club already but this is a bit different), the Tailwind Group projects (Profinium & Ridley), Mills Fleet Farm and new warehouses. There were expansions of existing primary sector companies such as Fed Ex, D&K Powder Coating, Spee-Dee Delivery, and Creative Company. I’m missing several more of equal importance but I don’t want to turn this blog into a rambling list. To summarize, 2015 was the convergence of many planning processes that started years ago and all came to fruition in the same calendar year.
Looking at 2016, the Calpine expansion project is going to be big. Lots of construction people coming in and needing long term lodging. In the hilltop area, there is a new developer in town looking to develop a 58 acre site. With a new developer comes new networks they are have connections to, which is good for bringing in new businesses. Additionally, development near and around Prairie Winds and the CR 12 corridor will drive new capital investment. In the City Center, Bridge Plaza is one tenant away from construction and there are other developers looking at separate large downtown projects. And of course there is the possibilities around the former downtown Post Office building and the Hubbard Building (former location of Ridley).
I don’t have numbers for these projects as they are still being planned. I would say 2016 could shape up to be a very prosperous year, but many of the opportunities are in their infancy. They could happen in 2016 or they may take longer.
The pipeline of projects makes Greater Mankato poised for continued growth that will benefit the entire region.