DE SOTO, Kan. (WDAF) — Panasonic announced it will lease 509,760 square feet in the Flint Commerce Center, roughly a mile from its $4 billion electric vehicle battery plant that is currently under construction.

Flint Commerce Center is expected to open in summer 2024 at the corner of 103rd Street and Edgerton Road. Panasonic’s space is expected to be right on that corner of the 370-acre park.

De Soto Mayor Rick Walker says the city was trying to spark economic development on that site even before conversations started with Panasonic about their new home down the road.

Walker says that was a tough sell, despite easy access to K-10, because of the lack of ready industrial space and infrastructure.

Infrastructure improvements around the Panasonic plant and the Flint Commerce Center are changing that now.

“The scope of the project tells you that this is not an investment made for the short term,” Walker said. “They’re not going to make an investment and pull out with a turn in the economy.”

Now, Walker says the city is already working on other upgrades around the city. The wastewater facility will need work to handle more and massive buildings that will tap into it.

The city is revisiting its comprehensive plan because so much has changed around town in the last few years. And local roads might need upgrades to handle more and heavier traffic.

“Work improvements might be needed on that route as we look at increased traffic and increased activity in our city,” Walker said.

Flint Commerce Center should be open next summer. Panasonic’s plant is due to open in March 2025.