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Beau's Journey » Blog Archive » November 28, 2008: Billion dollar investment in Metropolis?
Saturday, November 29th, 2008

November 28, 2008: Billion dollar investment in Metropolis?

  Well, this is certainly good news for the City of Metropolis.

Support 1st step in proposed port plan: State Rep. Phelps says developer stands ready to invest study money

Nov 26, 2008 (The Paducah Sun – McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) — METROPOLIS, Ill. — — Metropolis’ show of support paves the way for studying the development of a massive riverport and transportation hub along the bank of the Ohio River.

A memorandum of understanding the Metropolis City Council unanimously approved Monday night shows Vieste, an infrastructure developer, and its investors that they can expect cooperation, which is an important first step, said state Rep. Brandon Phelps, D-Harrisburg.

"I assume the ball is in their court now," Phelps said.

Phelps said Chicago attorney Sanford M. "Sandy" Stein, on behalf of Vieste, had requested a show of support from the Metropolis city government to encourage the company that it should make its initial investment in feasibility, marketing, environmental and engineering studies.

Stein suggested the company is poised to invest $1.5 million in studies with city’s cooperation, Phelps said.

As Stein projected, Vieste proposes the creation of a products and materials distribution center using river, rail, highway and airport transportation on 200 acres along the city’s riverfront west of the railway bridge during an initial phase that could be five years in the making. Infrastructure investment would be $60 million and total investment could be $300 to $400 million, Stein said.

The project could produce 800 to 1,000 jobs.

The long-term, 10-year prospects could bring as much as $1 billion in total investment over a total of 800 acres and could create more than 2,000 jobs, Phelps said Stein told him.

"I want to be sure that everybody knows that this is a long process," Phelps said. "It’s in its infant stages now, and there’s a lot that has to happen to bring this about, but this is the stuff you dream about.

"It could be a blessing for all of southern Illinois and the region," Phelps said. "There could be a lot of spin-off industry that would benefit the area even more.

Phelps said he has no long-term familiarity with Vieste, but he said he is confident in the proposal Stein delivered.

"I’ve known Sandy Stein for some time and know he is an honorable man," Phelps said. "I know that to even be considered for this is a home run. And if you don’t try, you’ll never succeed."

Vieste, on its Web site, posts a list of major ongoing projects for the company with offices in Chicago, Indianapolis, New York, and more recently, Memphis.

Bryan Messmore, the county administrator in Dearborn County, Ind., said on Tuesday that his dealings with Vieste have been positive. Development planners in Dearborn County went to Vieste when they were ready to hash out an economic development plan to acquire Honda automobile plant-related industries.

The people in the county did not embrace some of the development ideas the planners came up with, Messmore said. So no investor was found.

But, he added, Vieste put together a model for land development that could serve as a blueprint for the future if enough people would support it.

However, to date, the county hasn’t spent a dime on it, Messmore said.


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