Local firm hired to “fix” Joplin, Missouri
Wallace Bajjali hired to redevelop Joplin after tornado
By Joan Frances
When the devastating tornado ripped through Joplin Missouri on May 22, 2011 no one would have guessed that about a year later a company, six hundred and six miles away in Sugar Land Texas, would help them redevelop the city.
On April 2, 2012 the city of Joplin passed a resolution authorizing negotiations with Wallace Bajjali Development Partners to help rebuild the areas impacted by the tornado.
Eight out of nine council members agreed to sign the letter of intent, one member abstained from the vote. The process of choosing this company was a long and involved one.
Jane Cage, Chairwoman of the advisory team chose four finalists for the job. The committee conducted a thorough background check and visited projects the firm was involved in. They went to Waco and interviewed the city leaders there. There were also many hours of conversation and recommendations from other economic development leaders as well. The main factor in selecting Wallace Bajjali appeared to be the strong understanding this company has of public-private partnership. The government invests along with private investors. Wallace Bajjali also gives a personal touch, willing to be at risk with the city and take on the financial burden with them.
David Wallace, CEO of Wallace Bajjali and former Mayor of Sugar Land, traveled to Joplin 12 times to reinforce his commitment to the recovery and reconstruction of this city. Fate played a big part in his initial involvement. He was attending a dinner at the International Council of Shopping Centers National Convention when the tornado hit. Chris Crossland of Crossland Construction was notified his mother’s home was damaged and Wallace took an interest to help. From that moment things began to fall into place. His compassion paid off.
Over 5,400 homes were destroyed, an eight mile stretch of land. He began meeting with the community officials to get a pulse for how to turn this disaster into something good that enhances life and invites city growth. His team offered a unique approach, listening to the community and engaging the citizens in the designs that will create a sustainable city that will stand the test of time. The work of reconstruction has already started. The Master Development plans will begin in 60 to 90 days. Wallace said the estimated amount of money they need is $1.9 billion, with over $1 billion of public and private sector capital already secured. The project should take three to five years to complete. The city will reap the benefits of the make-over with plans to include a “Town Square” downtown with pedestrian and retail accessibility.
Wallace Bajjali has been in business since 2006 and even in the midst of the recession is extremely busy. Large contracting jobs include Waco in 2007 and Houston, Pearland in 2008. Projects in Houston in 2009, Montgomery County in 2010, Amarillo in 2011 and now work in Joplin Missouri. So what traits does this company have that others do not? Simply stated, Wallace Bajjali is a company that strives to find the infrastructure needs of a city and connects the synergy with public and private ownership. So in the future, when the news has articles about substantial city growth and progress, look for the name of the developer, it may very well be Wallace Bajjali.
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