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RESIDENTIAL NEEDS: OHM Developing's planned residential development in Lebanon features nearly 500 residential units, a park and walking trail.
Rendering provided by Torgerson Design Partners LLC
RESIDENTIAL NEEDS: OHM Developing's planned residential development in Lebanon features nearly 500 residential units, a park and walking trail.

Developer unveils $50M Lebanon residential project

Officials seeks to break ground on Phase I by March 2021

Posted online

A Lebanon-based developer is planning a $50 million residential community in the Laclede County city.

Land for OHM Developing Inc.’s project, which is designed with multiple types of housing, comprises 23 acres in south Lebanon. Dennis Hall owns OHM and the acreage on Ivie Lane, roughly a mile from the 127-mile marker of Interstate 44.

The preliminary plans call for a 220-unit residential care facility; seven three-story apartment buildings; five fourplex buildings; pickleball and basketball courts; walking trails and a park; and water features.

“We don’t want the property too dense,” Hall said. “It needs to look like a neighborhood, not a complex.”

Oak Grove-based Infinity Group LLC is general contractor on the project, with Ozark-based Torgerson Design Partners LLC as architect. Hall said he anticipates a March 2021 groundbreaking.

Project officials expect three phases for the development, with the first to include three 24-unit apartment buildings and three of the fourplexes. Hall said an optimistic timeframe is for the first phase to finish by late 2021. How well the first phase rents would determine additional housing units in subsequent phases, he said.

Construction costs are another factor, as Hall said materials such as lumber are on the rise this year. The price of lumber increased in August to an average price of $600 per thousand board feet, an 80% jump since mid-April, according to the National Association of Homebuilders.

Abbye Torgerson-Bobbett, project architect with Torgerson Design Partners, said over 480 units are possible for the development.

“We’ve basically completed early conceptual designs,” she said. “We’ve spent a lot of time on the front end with the site plans, looking at a balanced green space and density. We wanted to make sure we had a good amount of both.”

Land plan
Hall said he’s owned the project acreage for about a decade with the intention of eventually developing it. However, he’s been focused the past few years on his other business venture, Faith Immediate Care & Occupational Medicine, a Springfield-based health clinic he started in 2016.

“The city of Lebanon approached me about a year ago and asked me to take a look at doing something,” he said of the land. “I did some research to figure out for sure what the community was needing, and put together this plan.”

Lebanon City Administrator Mike Schumacher said the city is in need of single-family and multifamily housing with hundreds of manufacturing jobs available at companies including White River Marine Group, Emerson Climate Technologies and G3 Boats.

“Our motivation is to increase population that will help fill jobs. On any given day, we have 300-400 jobs open,” he said. “You have to support your existing businesses and we feel like improved and added housing options will help address that.”

The city’s population growth has been slight over the past decade. In 2019, Lebanon’s estimated population was around 14,800, according to U.S. Census Bureau data – a 1.7% increase from 2010.

Schumacher said Hall’s project bringing hundreds of homes to Lebanon is an attractive opportunity for the city.

“We very much look forward to working with him and hammering out the details to get it going,” Schumacher said.

Incentives for the project are yet to be covered, Schumacher said, as discussions on specifics between the city and the development team are still preliminary. “We’re interested enough in that development that we want to have those conversations,” he said, noting the use of tax increment financing funds is a possibility. “I’m sure we’ll come up with something that works well for everyone. I can see us helping with infrastructure costs, as well.”

Near the intersection of Beck and Ivey lanes, the development sits next to a future $3.5 million public safety building project the city is set to send out for bids this month. The city’s multiuse building will serve as fire department headquarters, Schumacher said, adding emergency dispatch also may relocate on-site. The project, set for an early 2022 completion, is funded through a city half-cent capital improvement sales tax, which he said annually generates $1.7 million.

The city also is in completing around $3 million in improvements to the Cowan Civic Center, and recently built a new farmers market pavilion downtown, he said.

Additional development work in Lebanon includes The Exchange at Wall Street, a $5 million entertainment complex from Florida-based Wall Street Cattle Co., according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

Going big
The project’s phased approach is meant to determine the market demand for multifamily housing, Hall said.

“We want to help the community, not create any problems with percentages of occupancy for anyone else there,” he said. “We want to phase it in to fill the need and that’s it.”

Hall started OHM Developing in 2006, he said, adding the 10-employee company’s work is property development in residential and light commercial. He noted Britli Estates, an apartment complex in Lebanon, as a large-scale project the firm completed a few years ago. However, OHM primarily works as a subcontractor, he said.

“Big projects tie you down a long time. Of course, this one here OHM owns,” he said. “When you’re putting that many eggs in one basket, you want to keep a handle on it.”

As a near 30-year resident of the city, Hall said he’s determined to see the development come to fruition. Still, he recognizes challenges come with this large of a project.

“A lot of good plans don’t go as planned. It’s a risk anytime you’re building something like this,” he said. “The economy has done some weird things before and we’ve all experienced it. You have to be conservative but optimistic.

“But if you don’t try to do it, it’ll never get done.”

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