Last September, St. Joseph Mayor Bill Falkner and Buchanan County Presiding Commissioner R.T. Turner, proudly displayed a new population sign in St. Joseph. Taken down was the green sign from 2000 that had 73,990 in big white numbers. The officials replaced that sign with a new one that reads, “POP 76,780.” The 2010 census revealed a 3.77 percent increase in St. Joseph residents and was an encouraging sign for both government officials and local developers.
With more residents, there is a need for more homes for those residents, more businesses to supply those residents, and the need for more hotels for business associates and visitors of those residents. St. Joseph’s neighborhoods are growing. A new subdivision has been planned for a 77-acre area along Karnes Road.
Jarrett Archdekin, president of Earthworks, Inc., is planning the construction of 22 single-family homes that are each expected to sell between $185,000 and $200,000. Local developers have seen subdivisions expanding on the North side with such speed over the last several years that a new St. Joseph public school is being built in that area to accompany all of those families.
The Shoppes at NorthVillage was a much welcomed new development nearly a decade ago. Undeveloped land around the Shoppes is gradually filling in with other amenities for the town. While many St. Joseph hotels are situated at the busy Frederick Avenue/Interstate 29 exit, new hotels are cropping up in the Shoppes area, also adjacent to busy Interstate 29. Land developers see the advantage of having more hotels at this northern exit into St. Joseph. While Candlewood Suites is up and running, a new 97-room Holiday Inn Express & Suites is planned to open in the spring of 2014.
While the land north and east of the shopping center may look vacant to shoppers, land developers are already carving and building on this land in their minds. The North County Development is already preparing the area for future development by planning the infrastructure of water and sewer lines as well as roads. Just across from the Shoppes’ hotels, land developers are planning the construction of a YMCA facility.
Looking at St. Joseph’s 2012 economic development statistics should be encouraging to land developers. In 2012, the Chamber was involved with 31 business attraction projects and 12 expansion projects. Hillshire Brands, Danisco, Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica, Ag Processing and Lifeline Foods have had recent expansions. Future expansions by Boehringer and Nestle Purina are currently being planned.
Last year the Chamber saw an $11.3 million payroll from projects in which it assisted. There were 276 jobs created that gave its workers an average salary of $40,290. Land developers are looking forward to St. Joseph’s future. Businesses are growing and stretching the borders of the city and reaching out services to the smaller towns that surround it and travelers that might want to stop to see what St. Joseph could offer them.