A new travel plaza bringing hotels, restaurants and an upscale RV park is coming to Emporia.
Johnny Brown, president and CEO of Topeka-based Brown Stone 3 Development and managing partner with D & J Land Development, told The Emporia Gazette that contracts for a 33.70-acre tract of land located just south of the US Highway 50 roundabout near Graphic Arts Road were signed last week.
“We are going to do a travel plaza, which is approximately 12,000-square feet,” Brown said. “In that travel plaza, they will have three restaurants with a drive-thru on one end.”
The RV park, which Brown described as “very upscale,” will include cabanas and a pool.
“It will be very well-maintained,” he said. “It’s designed for the traveler. Everything we do is on high-traffic locations.”
While Brown is not able to divulge what flagship restaurant is attached to the project just yet, he said it is a popular, nationally-recognized chain that will appeal to travelers and locals alike. The restaurant will encompass 2,000-square feet of the site, with other businesses already lining up to be a part of the project.
Brown estimates that the land is 65 - 75 percent sold to the tenant base coming to the site as of press time.
Brown said his company is currently waiting on entitlements — specifically Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and Community Improvement District (CID) consideration — which could take four — six months to approve.
According to the City of Emporia website, a TIF is a “public financing method to promote private and public investment for economic development, redevelopment, infrastructure and other community improvement projects,” while a CID is a “self-imposed additional sales tax collectible only at that location that encourages private and public development without requiring taxpayers, businesses and others to aggressively subsidize the economic growth.”
Once those entitlements are secured, Brown said work could begin on the site as soon as September. In all, it will take about two years to complete and will bring between 100 - 105 jobs to the city.
“We will start out the restaurants and the hotels, but we’ll have an additional 15 acres to develop, so we’ve got 65 - 75 percent of the land sold already, but we’ll have an additional 30 percent to sell,” he said. “Once you start building buildings, you have a lot of retailers calling you to get involved.”
Brown said this project has been in the works for nearly two years. During that time, the city has been “easy” to work with throughout the process.
“The city has been very congenial to work with,” he said. “They have been wanting more development in that area for a long time.”
Jerid Thomas, President of Thomas Transfer, owned the land the new development will go on.
“We are excited to see this land developed and eventually produce tax revenue for the city,” Thomas said.