COLUMBIA, 5/21/10 (Beat Byte) -- During the so-called "anti-business" tenures of former Columbia City council persons Karl Skala and Jerry Wade, IBM was known as "Project Tiger," a secret kept from all the rest that helped cost both men their unpaid council positions.
Now, a never-before-publicized list of "secret" economic development prospects -- also developed during the Wade/Skala years -- assigns other code names to companies interested in opening or relocating in Columbia.
"These prospects are projects where the level of interest has gone beyond an initial response," reads an April 14, 2010 board of directors report from Regional Economic Development, Inc., or REDI. "This report is an attempt to balance the need for confidentiality, which the vast majority of these projects mentioned below have requested."
Rated on a scale of 1 (weak) to 10 (strong), the code-named projects are:
Projected employees: 50-100 in two years
An out‐of‐state commercial laundry with a St. Louis Hospital contract that requires a Missouri facility. Initially focused on St. Louis and Columbia, the company has contracted to buy a 50,000 square foot building in Columbia. The company is working on financing, and has submitted building plans and business license application to the city. Once plans are approved, building improvements are expected to take approximately 60 days.
Energy Research Firm
Energy research firm from another country relocating to the MU Life Sciences and Technology Incubator to occupy five laboratories. Equipment for the company is already in Columbia. REDI paid for part of the company's first visit to Columbia, and helped identify additional temporary housing. Seven company representatives are here for an extended time beginning May 1. More details will be made available as the project progresses.
Done deal: IBM
Project Gable is a data center lead developed at AFCOM, the industry's most noted data center conference and trade show. The company develops, manages, and leases data centers and is considering Columbia for their next data center. The company interest in Columbia remains high and they are planning their next visit in late April or early May. An area company may be one of the anchor tenants to get this project started.
Data center project that has a Columbia site on the short list. Both the President and Chair of REDI have signed non‐disclosure agreements on the details of the project. The company will decide in September 2010.
UK based diagnostic testing startup
A start‐up UK‐based human health company that includes one of the former management team of PetScreen, Project Moose is hoping to establish a commercially viable diagnostic test for early cancer detection. REDI reimbursed the travel expenses of the CEO to come to Columbia for discussions with MU research and licensing staff. The CEO is currently working with the licensing staff and the Office of Research. REDI Board members Bob Black and Rob Duncan will meet with this company while in the UK in April.
Business Software company
Business software CEO looking to start a new medical information technology company in Columbia. Two key individuals already live here. The company plans to pursue angel investment through Centennial Investors, and raise the rest through private contacts. At start up, the company will have a few key employees and lease office space. The CEO visits Columbia regularly and this project continues to progress.
Real Estate brokerage
A St. Louis Real Estate Brokerage has contacted REDI looking for 15,000 square feet of industrial space for a light manufacturing/assembly operation that would serve an existing Columbia company. Needs 20+ foot high ceilings. Several properties were submitted. The company won't know if they received the contract for several weeks, so a decision will be expected in April.
Local company looking to expand
An area company interested in purchasing land and building a new facility. The company currently leases space, and their current space does not allow them to expand and add more employees. REDI has provided information on available sites and State incentive programs. The company is in the early stages of the project, so no decision is
expected for several months.
Done deal: KTU Constructors
3514 I‐70 Drive
The Missouri Department of Transportation selected this new Columbia-based firm, a joint venture of construction giant Peter Kiewit Co., Traylor Bros., Inc. and United Contractors, Inc. to complete the Safe & Sound Bridge Improvement Program, the largest bridge improvement project in Missouri history. The $487 million design-build project will replace 554 bridges in 111 counties within the state of Missouri. The company will hire 10‐15 employees.