Indy firm eyes new location in county

HANCOCK COUNTY — An Indianapolis-based manufacturer is considering moving its operations to Hancock County, which would make it the third large-scale development local officials have brought to a commercial park on the county’s western edge that sat almost empty less than a year ago.

Representatives from Landsberg Orora, an international company that produces specialty packaging for food and other products, are asking county officials for a tax break to move operations at the company’s Indianapolis location to a site in Alliance Park, near the intersection of county roads 200N and 700W.

If the company comes through, it would transfer 26 employees to the county; their salaries pay an average of about $86,000 annually, said Skip Kuker, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council.

Those types of high-wage jobs, which contribute income taxes to the local economy, are what county officials are seeking in new development, said county councilman Randy Sorrell.

The council gave the company preliminary approval at its recent meeting, but the development won’t move forward until after a public hearing at next month’s county council meeting, scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 10 at the county annex, 111 American Legion Place.

Kent Landsberg founded the company in 1947, which has grown to include 55 locations across North America, Europe and Asia.

If matters move forward, representatives plan to break ground on a 100,000-square-foot facility immediately, with construction potentially wrapping up in spring 2017, Kuker said.

Sorrell said he’s pleased with all the economic activity he’s seen across the county.

Though a deal is still pending that could bring Celadon Trucking’s world headquarters to the Mt. Comfort area — a project that would bring more than 500 jobs — the council has seen a flurry of activity lately, Sorrell said.

In April, the county council approved tax breaks for Celadon and Tsuda Industries, an auto parts producer with facilities currently located off West County Road 300N.

Despite concerns from some residents that tax breaks don’t benefit the county, Sorrell said the deals can pay off significantly in the long run.

“A little money up front can pay dividends on the back side,” he said.

Sorrell also said he’s relieved the company won’t conduct any heavy manufacturing on site; plans call for clean operations at the facility, which won’t produce fumes, pollution or excessive noise.

County auditor Robin Lowder said it’s unclear specifically how much the tax abatement could save the company over a 10-year period. Those figures will be decided once construction is finished and the property value has been assessed, she said.

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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.