Businesses Needed for Building Boom
Because of Bass Pro's popularity, developers expected the center to fill up quickly.
"He got Bass Pro Shop in here and the Hilton [Garden Inn], and thought, 'Well, 'Everything's going to go fast because of that,'" said Don Lairmore, Centerstate Crossings project manager.
Centerstate Crossings plans to develop a family fun center to try to attract people from across mid-Missouri. But, several other properties in Columbia are still vacant two years after completion.
"Businesses that you see for most of the spaces, service-type businesses or retail, will use that type of space," said Chamber of Commerce Director Don Laird. "When they have vacant buildings, the owners or the people building are not happy. You know that's costing them money."
However, Columbia's building boom continues, including two new Super Wal-Marts with their own strip malls featuring about 17 units each. So, why do developers continue to build without filling property already available?
"He's got four or five or more projects going around the country," said Lairmore. "And he's simply, let's say he spread himself too thin."
Business owners say Columbia's rising population will attract more popular businesses.
"Actually, more restaurants are good," explained Thompson. "Competition is good because it makes it more of a destination. The more restaurants you have in one location, the more reason there is for people to be there."
Bass Pro Properties just bought the Center-State Crossings property to continue developing the area.
Click on "Related KOMU Stories" to the right, to see an exclusive interview with project manager, Don Lairmore.