County officials offer tax break to potential company

HANCOCK COUNTY — County officials pushed forward two major economic developments this week.

At Wednesday’s county council meeting, members gave final approval for a $55 million expansion to Tsuda Industries, an auto parts producer currently located off West County Road 300N.

Tsuda is expected to add 35 employees by 2017, after construction of a 70,000-square-foot expansion is complete.

The company will save about $3.5 million in property taxes over 10 years; in that period of time the company will still pay about $2.5 million in taxes to the county.

Members of the county council also gave preliminarily approval for a tax break to Celadon Group, a major North American trucking company scouting local land for a $25 million international headquarters.

Representatives from the company, which currently is headquartered on the east side of Indianapolis, requested a tax break that could save the company up to $4.3 million in property taxes during a 10-year period. During that same period of time, the company would pay approximately $2.5 million in taxes to the county.

The development would bring more than 500 jobs to the county, all of which would be transferred from the company’s current headquarters. Company representatives say they expect to add jobs as the company continues to grow.

Company records show Celadon’s earnings for the final quarter of 2015 totaled $275 million, almost 24 percent higher than the same period from the previous year.

Members of the Hancock County Council said landing the company would be a major development for the area.

Celadon, a full-service transportation company, employs more than 4,000 workers across North America and carries goods for companies including Lowe’s, Wal-Mart and General Motors.

The council will make a final decision on the tax break after a public hearing at its next meeting, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. May 11 at the Hancock County Courthouse Annex, 111 American Legion Place.

Landing Celadon could spur more retail and residential activity in the county, said Skip Kuker, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council.

During a presentation to council members, Bobby Peavler, chief financial officer for Celadon, said the property, a 160-acre site near Mt. Comfort Road and West County Road 300N, appeals to the company because it offers room to expand.

The company has run out of room at its current campus, located on East 33rd Street in Indianapolis, Peavler said. The site’s easy access to Interstate 70 makes it an attractive option, Peavler said.

But plans aren’t yet finalized, and company representatives are considering other sites across the state, they say.

Construction plans include a four-story, 54,000-square-foot administration building; a 73,000-square-foot maintenance facility; and a 30,000-square-foot dormitory available for drivers who need to stay overnight.

The proposed site, less than half a mile north of I-70, would serve as an overnight hub for drivers and would feature a six-acre paved lot for driver training.

All truck traffic would come off I-70 just south of the proposed site and would enter the facility from Mt. Comfort Road via an existing access road, planning documents show.

Cars would access the site through two entrances from West County Road 300N, according to planning documents.

Bill Bolander, county council president, said if the development comes through, he hopes employees would choose to move to the county.

Workers at the proposed site would earn a median salary of about $40,000, plus benefits, Kuker said.

If the company does choose to build in Hancock County, Peavler said he’s unsure when construction might begin.

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Daniel Morgan is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. He can be reached at (317) 477-3228 or dmorgan@greenfieldreporter.com.