GARDNER, KS-Camping gear firm Coleman Co. Inc. has agreed to lease a 1.1-million-square-foot new facility here in the planned $90 million Midwest Commerce Center. The industrial park, being developed by a joint venture of Overland, KS-based LS Commercial Real Estate and San Antoni-based USAA Real Estate Co., is expected to have 2.3-million-square-feet in four buildings on 155 acres along US Highway 56, about half a mile from Interstate 35.

Paul Licausi, president of LS, tells that the plans originally had been for five buildings, and the venture had been starting with a 520,000-sf spec facility. “Since then we’ve been fortunate to finalize our agreement with Coleman for a super regional distribution center. We expect to have delivery by the fourth quarter of 2009,” he tells

The building count will now be at about four, Licausi says, with likely a larger building and two smaller buildings to come. The buildings at the park will be designed to accommodate large users, he says. The area is no stranger to large user interest, Licausi says. “Kansas City is on the radar screen of regional distribution centers because of its great highway, rail, barge and air access. Plus there’s still large tracts of land available that are very affordable,” he says.

Despite the economy, the area has seen steady activity, Licausi says. “We’ve seen recent deals such as Musicians Friend and Pacific Sunwear here, taking more than 500,000 square feet each. There’s a lot of activity in the 100,000-square-foot to 400,000-square-foot deals, but we’re still seeing the large ones, too,” he says.