DE SOTO, Kan. — The former Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant in De Soto now has a new name.
On Monday, the Kansas City-based commercial real estate firm Kessinger Hunter announced the property will be rebranded as Astra Enterprise Park.
After decades of production, the Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant closed in 1992 and was declared an excess of the U.S. Army’s needs in 1998.
In 2005, the Army transferred the ammunition plant property to Sunflower Redevelopment. Managing members of Sunflower Redevelopment include Kessinger Hunter as well as RESIGHT Holdings of Colorado and Kansas City-based Midland Properties.
Developers selected the new name to represent the massive transformation of the property, and it’s based on the Kansas state motto “Ad astra per aspera,” which roughly translates to “to the stars, through difficulty.”
“The name has significance to us because it reflects what’s possible when you work hard to achieve big goals,” Chuck Hunter, principal of Kessinger Hunter, said in a news release. “Just as Astra was an important employment center for thousands of families in its previous life, we believe it will be even more significant in the decades ahead.”
Panasonic Energy will begin construction on a new electric-vehicle battery plant on the property in November.
Panasonic’s $4 billion battery plant is expected to occupy roughly 605 acres within the enterprise park. While the final details of the Panasonic project are still being determined, the city is currently working on water, sewer and road upgrades to support the future development.
In its entirety, the former ammunition plant property contains approximately 9,035 acres to the south of K-10 Highway.
A majority of the property falls within a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) district. In December, the De Soto City Council will consider expanding the TIF district to include an additional 2,800 acres.
The enterprise park will also include more than 2,000 acres of public park space and recreational trails.