A look inside proposed projects from the Joplin master developer - KOAM TV 7

A look inside proposed projects from the Joplin master developer

Updated July 10, 2012 by Jordan Aubey:  Joplin's master developer presents ideas for rebuilding parts of the city destroyed by last year's tornado.

A key part of the plans presented by Texas-based Wallace Bajjali includes attracting outside developers.  City officials say there is an interest.

Projects include millions of dollars worth of new sidewalks, hike and bike trails, and trees.

"They actually have what we like to call 'skin in the game' where if it's profitable, then they want to make sure it's going to work and they'll do their due diligence, accordingly," says Debbie Barlos, President of Ozark Gateway of Realtors.

There's plans for a new $73.8 million medical building, funded by an outside co-developer.

There's also a residential and retail building worth $56.3 million, also funded by a co-developer.

"I've heard just anecdotally from other real estate professionals that that there seems to be an increased interest in Joplin," says Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr.

"We commissioned a study right after the tornado by a company that indicated there was a need for up to 3,100 new structures - 1,700 would be single family residential," says Rohr.

Barlos says more low-income housing should come first.

"Over 40% of that were non-owned places to live, they were owned by investors, so when you're talking to me about that I'm thinking you have somewhere between 20% and 40% of those folks that that needs to be addressed," says Barlos.  "Affordable housing for a first time home buyer is anywhere from your $80,000 to probably $125,000-$130,000."

Sometimes a perspective home builder or buyer doesn't qualify for assistance.

Some realtors believe a developer would serve as a catalyst towards a person's goal of ownership.

"They might be able to have certain finances available to them that might help them build more affordable," says Barlos.

"Bringing in a big developer also enables us to access some approaches and ideas that may have been successful elsewhere that we can utilize here," says Rohr.

Among the next steps in the developing process is the city to buy land in the tornado-affected areas.  The city would then sell the land to developers at a competitive cost.

The city is also slated to begin applying for several grant money programs.

Reported July 9, 2012 by Zach Fletcher:  Just one week after winning a unanimous approval to become the master developer Wallace Bajjali Development Group came with many projects to present at the standing room only meeting.

Nineteen projects were presented before the Joplin city council as Wallace Bajjali Development partners look at how it can shape the city's future.

Those projects are looking at being funded by Housing and Urban Development applications and other sources.

"Each individual project is going to have to be put together and presented to council on its own basis and that's going to take some time," says Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr.  "But we'll just keep plugging away like we have and anything that we get done is above and beyond where we're at right now. "

"Once they really start digging into these projects they'll see that 'oh my gosh, that's going to be really big for Joplin' and it's going to help continue to grow us," says Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean.

Housing, government, art developments and a minor league baseball stadium with a prospective team coming to Joplin were also discussed.

Wallace Bajjali CEO David Wallace says the main question he and the city are using to help guide the rebuilding is whether or not these plans make economic sense.

"What our focus is on these, we're trying to come up with ways that these can be self financed, and sure there are different government programs, and when I say government, whether that's federal, state or local, but what we're trying to do is we're trying to use tools that already exist," says Wallace.

"That's going to be one of the big things, but he's got it laid out so clear for us," says Mayor Colbert-Kean.  "And with the federal funding that we're going to be receiving with the CDBG and different avenues, that we'll be getting the money in, I think they're going to leverage those tools."

Spiva Center for the Arts Executive Director Jo Mueller says she's excited to see the prospective developments being discussed.

"It's no secret that the arts can play a major roll in economic development," Mueller says.  "That's something that we've been talking about for a long time and visualizing how the arts can impact Joplin."

"And you have everybody that's engaged in it and I think it's going to be a good thing for Joplin," says Mayor Colbert-Kean.  "With the more public input we have, which are a lot of the town things that are going to be coming up, it's going to be good so that way everybody knows what's going on."

The listing of project concepts is almost $800 million.  And on top of that, Wallace says when the project ideas become reality they are intended to fund themselves with a large return on investment.

A public meeting is set for Monday July 16 at city hall where council will look at the plans again and also apply for the HUD and economic development applications.

View the Wallace-Bajjali presentation.

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