Regional Group Unveils Plans for MidAmerica St. Louis Airport

MidAmerica Land & Development LLC -- a group of regional developers and transportation executives -- will serve as the lead developer for a number of projects planned at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

St. Clair County leaders on Wednesday formally introduced the group and its ambitious plans for the airport. They include a hotel, conference center, office park, truck stop and about 900 acres of industrial support services and transportation infrastructure.

The company plans to lease more than half the 50,000-square-foot cargo terminal now under construction at MidAmerica Airport. While the company plans to begin transferring freight through the terminal later this year, the other parts of the project will be years in the making.

"We're partnering up with recognized developers," said Jim Williams, a member of MidAmerica Land & Development. "We're talking about real players in the development arena that can do some of the things we're talking about doing."

Also introduced was Col. Gary Widner, construction and facilities manager for the Illinois National Guard. The guard on Wednesday announced its intention to build an $8.1 million armory at the airport to house a new 114-soldier unit combating biological and chemical threats.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern didn't attend the announcement at MidAmerica, but offered the following prepared statement:

"As we all had hoped, MidAmerica Airport is proving itself a catalyst for economic development of this region.

"Once we had established the critical elements of passenger service and air cargo facilities, it didn't take long for experienced developers to see the potential of the airport and nearby highways to become a national transportation hub."

MidAmerica Land & Development was singing a similar tune.

"We really believe in what (Public Building Commission Chairman) Rich Sauget and (Airport Director) Tim Cantwell are up to," said Paul McKee Jr., an O'Fallon, Mo.,-based developer. "This is going to be an incredible international hub for freight."

MidAmerica Land & Development will be based at MidAmerica Airport. The list of those involved with the new company include:

McKee, chairman of McEagle Properties LLC and Paric Corp. McKee is one of the architects of the 1,100-acre WingHaven planned community in O'Fallon, Mo.

Williams, the chief executive officer of Sunset Transportation Inc. The Sunset Hills, Mo.,-based company is a third-party logistics company, arranging transportation by other trucking companies to meet its clients' needs.

Ross Jacobs, chief executive officer of Catamount Cargo Services. The Chicago-based company started in 2001 with a focus on handling international cargo freight. It operates a 70,000-square-foot cargo building in Bensenville.

Tom Patterson, president of Raptor Logistics & Transportation Inc. Raptor Transportation is a domestic trucking company based in Granite City. Patterson, a truck driver by trade, will serve as president of MidAmerica Land & Development.

To accomplish its goals, the company plans to lease more than half the 50,000-square-foot cargo terminal now under construction at MidAmerica Airport. It plans to construct the hotel, conference center, office park and truck stop by 2011, and the industrial park by 2025.

"We're pretty happy about all of it," Cantwell said. "This is an exciting time for MidAmerica and St. Clair County."