Development

Massive Toys R Us warehouse in Lee’s Summit sold to $6.5 billion retail co-op group

Tour the former Toys R Us warehouse with its new owner

Mid-States Distributing paid $26 million for the Lee's Summit warehouse opened by Toys R Us in 1994. Mid-States is investing $35 million more in updates.
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Mid-States Distributing paid $26 million for the Lee's Summit warehouse opened by Toys R Us in 1994. Mid-States is investing $35 million more in updates.

A Lee’s Summit warehouse vacated by Toys R Us is getting new life with its purchase by a $6.5 billion farm and ranch retail cooperative group.

Mid-States Distributing LLC said it bought the warehouse from Toys R US, which has been liquidating its business. The Minnesota-based company serves cooperative stores under various brands in the United States and Canada.

Its members include the Family Center Farm & Home in Harrisonville, Liberal Standard Supply in Liberal, Kan., and Ulysses Standard Supply in Ulysses, Kan.

In the startup phase, plans call for hiring 30 to 35 employees within a month to open the facility by the end of the year. The company paid $26 million for the property in bankruptcy proceedings and will invest $35 million in upgrades, Chief Operating Officer Jeff Rash said Tuesday.

Rash said the warehouse is bigger than Mid-States needs, able to hold 60,000 pallets of materials. Officially 725,769 square feet of space on a 41-acre lot, the capacity of the warehouse is closer to 1 million square feet because of the height of its racks, he said.

“You could turn this into a football stadium,” Rash said.

The company would like to lease part of the space to other companies, perhaps also providing warehousing services for the tenant. In full use, employment could reach 200 in the next five years, he said.

Mid-States plans to serve its network of 39 member companies and the 675 stores they operate in 35 states and five Canadian provinces.

More than two dozen potential buyers inquired about buying the warehouse, and Lee’s Summit officials provided 29 tours, said Rick McDowell, president of the Lee’s Summit Economic Development Council. He said Mid-States not only was the highest bidder but also the first to call for a visit.

The warehouse had opened in 1994 and employed about 500 at its last seasonal peak under Toys R Us. City officials said at the time it opened that the facility represented a $37 million investment including related distribution and manufacturing operations.

It closed as Toys R Us succumbed to bankruptcy last summer.

Mid-States formed in 1954 and reported annual sales of $6.5 billion.

The chain’s CEO said the plan is to liquidate all U.S. stores, and likely those in Australia, France, Poland, Portugal and Spain. Stores in Canada, central Europe and Japan would remain open for potential buyers for those assets.

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