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$65M mixed-use development coming to Republic

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The Iron Grain District, a $65 million mixed-use development by Magers Management Co., is coming to Republic.

The residential and commercial development is slated for the intersection of State Route MM and Sawyer Road on 30 acres that are adjacent to the Garton Business Park, which houses the Amazon fulfillment center.

Officials with the Randy Magers-owned development company described the project as a community-centered development that would offer contemporary multifamily housing and town homes within walking distance of dining, shopping and entertainment.

Republic Mayor Matthew Russell welcomed the new development.

“The proposed Iron Grain District project brings retail and residential development together in a way that aligns with our current goal to make Republic a great place to live, work and play,” he said.

Architectural firm H Design Group has been brought on to design the project. BP Builders LLC is the general contractor, and Derek Lee of Lee Engineering and Associates LLC was instrumental in the master planning, according to Shannon Handwerker, vice president of operations for Magers Management.

The residential portion of the project is designed with more than 200 one-, two- and three-bedroom units and a pool, dog park, clubhouse and walking trails. The plans also call for a hotel on the site.

Adjacent to the apartments is a planned 24,000-square-foot shopping center. Additional lots will also be available for lease, Handwerker said.

Handwerker said some companies already have expressed interest in the commercial development. These include a couple of national tenants and two local restaurants that Handwerker declined to identify.

Handwerker said Arch Watson of commercial real estate company SVN/Rankin Co. will be working to fill the commercial spaces, and the exact mix of businesses is to be determined.

“I imagine the majority will be restaurants,” Handwerker said. “The city of Republic really needs those, especially in that area of town.”

The planned development is just south of the James River Freeway interchange.

The Amazon warehouse opened its doors in September with some 1,600 employees, not including holiday seasonal workers. Convoy of Hope, which Springfield Business Journal previously reported has approximately 60 warehouse workers, also opened nearby in September. More workers in Republic have meant more demand for restaurants and stores to serve them.

“It is exciting to see this continued investment in our community,” said David Cameron, city administrator of Republic. “Iron Grain District represents the kind of intentional development that sets Republic apart.”

Mike Jones of Springfield-based Jones Marketing Group is working with Magers Management on Iron Grain’s branding. He said the development is being built on former farmland where crops were grown.

“We want to show our appreciation to farmers in the community,” he said. “Republic is a very rural community, supported in large part by agronomy.”

That accounts for the “Grain” portion of the name, but Jones said the area also is rich in minerals.

“It used to be and still is a big iron ore community, dating back to the Frisco railroad,” he said. “Iron was a big part of its commerce back in the day, so the name is a nod to that.”

Significant to the name, too, is the concept of the area as a district, rather than a mere development,. Jones said. The organizers say they aim to create an area where people congregate and collaborate.

“Our hope, as Republic is growing in that direction, as it appears to be, is that residents will say, ‘Let’s meet out at Iron Grain,’” he said.

Handwerker acknowledged the name of the district might apply to the entire area and not just the planned development.

“We think it will really help to promote growth that way,” she said.

Handwerker said the goal is to have the shopping center finished by summer 2023, with completion to occur in phases.

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