HANCOCK COUNTY — Companies are interested in moving to Hancock County, but many are looking for vacant industrial space, economic development leaders say.
Hancock County rarely has empty buildings to advertise, officials say, and the community is missing out on some business projects as a result.
An Indianapolis construction management company hopes to help mitigate that challenge.
Peterson Construction and Property Services is considering constructing a roughly 360,000 square-foot building ready-made for a business to move in. The company is considering land in Alliance Park by Celadon’s new headquarters near Mt. Comfort Road and west County Road 300N.
This week, Larry Siegler, the chief operating officer for Peterson Construction and Property Service, told the Hancock County Council his company is eying the county for its next “spec” building project. The company agrees to foot the bill for the project — but wants a tax break from the county in return.
The company, which has worked with other Hancock County companies (Foamcraft, Brybelly and Landsberg) to build facilities here, expects the project to create at least 20 new jobs paying an average wage of $14.42 an hour, figures calculated based on neighboring businesses’ pay rates.
Skip Kuker, director of the Hancock Economic Development Council, said the building is estimated to cost about $13 million. The tax abatement would save the company approximately $1.6 million over 10 years.
The council preliminarily approved the break at a 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. March 8 at the county annex, 111 American Legion Place.
The county desperately needs vacant buildings Kuker can advertise, he said, as the area is being passed up for other communities that have ready to use space.
The proposal comes as Greenfield city officials weigh whether to foot the bill for construction of a shell building in city limits. Potential sites have been identified, but the proposal is still being considered.
Siegler told county council members constructing spec buildings has proven successful in other communities, including Greenwood, Plainfield and Westfield. Peterson Construction and Property Services has built the facilities in other central Indiana communities. Those buildings house a Wal-Mart, a security company and an Adidas facility, Siegler said.
Building one in Hancock County would help the community be more competitive, he said.
“We’ve had tremendous success over the past in building spec buildings and getting some heavy-hitters,” he said.
Council president Bill Bolander supports the project, saying Siegler’s company has been a good economic development partner, developing quality projects in Hancock County, and following through on its promises.