New Fortville building awaits approval

Daily Reporter staff reports

FORTVILLE — The president of a local construction firm is looking to build a $2.5 million retail building and storage facility in Fortville.

After expressing his intent to build an 18,000-square-foot retail building at 710 W. Garden St. to the Fortville Town Council, Matt Dixon, president of The Dixon Construction Group, is asking officials from the Hancock County Area Plan Commission on Tuesday to rezone the property to allow construction to begin.

To move forward with the project, the land needs to be rezoned from commercial residential to a light-industrial property.

Mike Dale, executive director of the Hancock County Area Plan Commission, said he intends to recommend approval for the project at the commission’s next board meeting, scheduled for Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.

Though the proposed site, which is currently undeveloped, is located near a residential neighborhood, Dale said he plans to address any concerns from residents through restrictions on the number of lights placed on the 8.2-acre property.

He also said the board can designate where the property’s driveway is placed, which could reduce noise for neighbors.

Dixon, one of four investors on the deal, told Fortville Town Council members the property would house from three to five tenants, possibly more.

Dixon told the council he plans to target contractors, small tool and die shops, and print shops as possible tenants, saying these are the types of businesses that value a small front office while also having a large storage or work area in the back.

The other part of the proposed development consists of a 406-unit self-storage facility. There would be 31 units that could store recreational vehicles or boats and would cover a total of 68,000 square feet. Some of the units would be climate-controlled.

Dixon said the investors, all of whom live in Fortville or nearby towns, intend to run the facilities long term.

Fortville Town Council member Robert Holland expressed concern about the possibility of an increase in large truck traffic in the area as well as a lack of turn lanes for the entrance to the facility.

Fellow member Janet Manship expressed her interest in the public reaction to such a project.

“I would be interested in knowing what happens at a public hearing,” she said. “And what the residents of that area think.”

Dixon said if his proposal is approved, he expects construction to take place in two phases and to last about a year and a half.

He said a buildings could be ready to lease, and the storage units ready to rent by late 2017.

“I don’t think construction could begin before winter,” he said. “We would be looking to break ground as soon as the weather breaks.”

Tuesday’s plan commission meeting will take place at the Hancock County Annex, 111 American Legion Place, Suite 146, Greenfield.