DE SOTO, Kan. – the former Sunflower Ammunition Plant of the Army in De Soto now has a new name.
On Monday, the Kansas City-based commercial real estate firm Kesinger Hunter announced the property would be rebranded as Astra Enterprise Park.
After decades of production, the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant was closed in 1992 and declared surplus to the needs of the US Army in 1998.
In 2005, the Army transferred the ammunition plant property to the Sunflower Redevelopment. Managing members of Sunflower Redevelopment include Kessinger Hunter as well as RESIGHT Holdings of Colorado and Kansas City-based Midland Properties.
The developer chose a new name to reflect the massive transformation of the property, and based on the Kansas state motto “Ad astra per aspera,” which roughly translates to “to the stars, through difficulties.”
“This name is important to us because it represents what is possible when you work hard to achieve big goals,” Chuck Hunter, principal of Kessinger Hunter, said in a press release. “Just as Astra was an important employment center for thousands of families in their previous lives, we believe it will be even more important in the coming decades.”
Panasonic Energy will start construction on a new electric-vehicle battery plant on property in November.
Panasonic’s $4 billion battery plant is expected to occupy approximately 605 acres in the company’s park. While the final details of the Panasonic project are still being determined, the city is currently working on it water, sewer and road upgrades to support future development.
In total, the former ammunition factory contains approximately 9,035 hectares south of the K-10 Highway.
Most properties are included in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts. In December, the De Soto City Council will consider expansion of the TIF district includes an additional 2,800 hectares.
The company park will also include more than 2,000 acres public park space and recreational trails.