October 22 – Noble County seeks to develop its industrial property | Fwbusiness


NOBLE COUNTY – If you are looking to open or relocate an industrial business in Noble County, there aren’t many options.

Existing industrial buildings have been bought out across the county and only a handful remain.

And when it comes to vacant lots, if you want to build new ones, depending on what city or town you are considering, there might not be a lot of opportunities to do that either.

At a recent meeting of the Kendallville Economic Development Advisory Committee, a comment was made that all industrial buildings in the county have been bought and purchased. It was a slight exaggeration, but not by much.

The county currently has around four to five industrial buildings for sale, which can be found listed on the Noble County Economic Development Corporation website. Gary Gatman, executive director of EDC, said some of the buildings listed for sale on the website have already been purchased, leaving little stock remaining.

“It’s fair to say we’ve seen intense activity and there are a lot of buyers who are interested in these properties,” he said.

One of the few buildings available is a large building which has proven to be difficult to fill.

The LSC Communications building which is located in the industrial park in the east of the city. The building closed in December 2020 after LSC Communications, formerly known as Courier, shut down the plant, leaving Noble County and Kendallville looking for a new occupant for the 300,000 facility. square feet.

Gatman said it was difficult to find someone to move into the old Courier building because none of the potential buyers are a big enough business and don’t have the capital to afford the building.

“We have had conversations with a number of people, and nothing has progressed,” he said. “The building is fabulous and has high ceilings and is in a great location.

The building has received inquiries from half a dozen buyers who are serious about moving into the property.

Gatman said most companies are looking more for buildings between 50,000 and 70,000 square feet, so the county is struggling to fill the old Courier factory due to its size.

The height of the COVID-19 pandemic has also played a role in deterring potential buyers from the property.

He said many of them decided to move away after the pandemic struck due to places being closed.

“I am quite optimistic that this building will be occupied soon,” he said. “We did a pretty decent job of publicizing the building. Overall, Indiana is a great state for doing business, and we already have plenty of people occupying the other buildings in the industrial park.

He thinks the building could be filled by someone within six to eight months.

With few vacant buildings available, Kendallville instead took it upon themselves to build their own.

To help increase the number of industrial properties around the city, the city is constructing a “shell” building at the corner of Ohio Street and Weston Avenue.

The building is currently under construction and cost approximately $ 2.2 million. It will be a 75,000 square foot, expandable facility with 30 foot ceilings. The envelope – four walls and a roof – will be built first, and then when the building is sold to a company, the interior will be built and customized according to the needs of that company.

Gatman has previously said the hull building, when completed, could become not only Noble County’s best industrial prospect, but even the larger area of ​​northeast Indiana.

Elsewhere in the county, communities do not have readily available buildings, but a few at least have vacant lots open to new development.

In Ligonier, the city is looking to fill its open spaces in its industrial park on the north side.

Mayor Patty Fisel said the city was working with accounting and consulting firm Baker Tilly to secure a grant from the US Economic Development Administration, which reports to the US Department of Commerce, to extend the standoff on Pennington Way and Heckner Drive to Perry Road. .

“This new extension will help open up new traffic lanes for everyone in the industrial park,” she said.

The industrial park on the north side of the city has approximately 31 acres of open land available for industrial businesses. The land is owned by the Ligonier Industrial Development Corp., a local organization that helps promote the industry throughout the city.

She said she heard about the property from an interested party and inquired about the purchase of seven acres of land. They also heard from resident Dan Stuckman about purchasing part of the open land to install a waste transfer station in town, but he did not make an official offer to the town.

Ligonier also annexed a few hundred acres of land south of US 6 in the city, and although most of this land could be used for commercial and residential development, the city has long-term plans to use it. part for new industrial spaces. cheeky.

Outside of Ligonier, the only other community with significant industrial land ready to develop is Avilla.

The city is working to prepare its 80-acre industrial park east of SR 3 for the installation of industry.

Avilla purchased this land for a new industrial park in recent years after filling all of its available space west of SR 3. The property still needs to install infrastructure such as water and sewer lines in order to make it much more ready for the shovel.

The city currently owns the land and is in the process of finalizing the $ 1.2 million grant that would cover half of the costs of finishing the industrial park. The remaining costs will be covered by the City and the Noble County EDC.

“We are still in the process of completing the legal documents with the federal government regarding the grant and have been approved to take the next steps,” said Tena Woenker, Director of the City of Avilla. “We have sold four lots so far and we have approximately 55 acres left.”

The installation of utilities in the industrial park is essential to sell part of it. She said that many companies interested in ownership want to get there quickly and installing utilities is time consuming and expensive.

Once the park is ready for use, the city plans to start promoting the land by spreading the word in the media and listing the property on the county’s EDC website.

“Avilla is a great place for manufacturing,” she said. “We are very excited about the future of this property.

The city is confident that it will be able to sell parts of the property and start attracting new industries to the community.

She said the city is also interested in getting an industrial building, just as Kendallville is building in her city.

“We have a potential buyer who is interested in the construction of a shell building. We hope to build one in town and keep a few acres available for others, ”she said.

While Ligonier and Avilla have land available for new industrial development, Kendallville does not.

The industrial park in the east of the city is almost completely filled and no land is available for major new development. Kendallville currently does not have any new land zoned for industrial development and there has been no discussion of the possibility of annexation to establish new industrial zones.

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