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Plans submitted for development near Columbia Regional Airport

Plans for building development around Columbia Regional Airport have been submitted to the city of Ashland.

Last year, Larry Potterfield and his wife, Brenda, decided to move ahead with plans to develop much of the 477 acres of land they own within Ashland city limits.

“We’re just very fortunate that the Potterfield family has placed this investment in the city of Ashland,” said Mayor Gene Rhorer.

Two buildings have been proposed so far by Hummingbird Properties, which is owned by Potterfield. He said in an email Monday afternoon that he has plans for the rest of the land, but it’s too early to make any solid decisions.

One building will be about 55,000 square feet and the other will be 22,000 square feet. They’re called “speculative buildings,” which means they are being built without owners.

“They’re speculative for any business or industry that might want to be in the area, and Larry’s following what I think is kind of an economic direction at this time,” said Rhorer. “Businesses seem to be looking for buildings and site-ready.”

Potterfield said he chose “spec” buildings in order “to have nearly complete buildings available for customers in a hurry.”

The buildings will utilize a “tilt-up” design, which means the walls will be made of concrete that has been formed on-site and connected together.

Potterfield said while it is more expensive, it will make for a better building that looks better and lasts longer.

“(It is) a better image for the community,” he said.

The development plans follow a yearlong project to build a new collections system that would bring the solid waste from the industrial park to the city’s facility. Hummingbird Properties paid for the bulk of the $1.97 million project. The Baptist Home, a proposed assisted living facility set to break ground on New Salem Road, paid $405,000 and the city paid the rest.

Once built, Rhorer said, the two buildings will provide much-needed property tax revenue for the city. The school district is building additions to three of its buildings and would be able to benefit from the money. He also mentioned their infrastructure could use a financial boost.

If approved, Potterfield said he wants to break ground right away and already has a contractor waiting in the wings.

This comes as the city of Columbia plans to expand the terminal at Columbia Regional Airport. Rhorer said the two aren’t working together currently but he said he hopes their projects can accent each other.

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