After almost a decade of planning and negotiations, the City of Forest Park will sign the closing papers tomorrow to purchase nearly 800 acres of Fort Gillem. That is when the City will finally reveal the name of its tenant.
It has been called “Project Jasper” for the last couple of years. In order to buy the property from the U.S. Army, Forest Park needed a developer -- a big one.
City Manager Frank Brandon says a Fortune 500 big box store will be setting up shop on some 300 acres of the tract the City is buying. “They’ll be building a $250 million distribution center,” said Brandon. “And initially, it will create 750 to 1000 jobs, and they’ve planned expansion which could possibly increase it to more than 1500 jobs.”
But no amount of prodding would convince Brandon to reveal the name; it is a secret he has had to keep much longer than he planned to. “You think it’s ready to go, and it’s not, it’s ready to go, and then it’s not,” said Brandon. “It’s been tough, but I think we’ve done a pretty good job with it.”
He promises to reveal all…just as soon as the papers are signed on Tuesday.