By Mitchell Kirk | Daily Reporter
HANCOCK COUNTY — Two more large, move-in ready buildings are coming to the western part of the county.
The projects continue a trend of properties planned for the area on the speculation that tenants or buyers will soon be secured. All together, the space totals an estimated 13 million-plus square feet and investments of nearly $600 million.
Indianapolis-based GDI Construction is planning a $17 million, 317,000-square foot building on 26 acres north of County Road 400N and west of Mt. Comfort Road.
The site is directly west of a 226,000-square foot building the company finished last year. To the north of that building, construction is underway on another building of the same size the company is developing. Both properties have been sold to a real estate firm.
To the north of those projects, GDI Construction also has plans for three buildings. Mike Sheek, director of business development for GDI Construction, said work will begin on one that will be 740,000 square feet this spring or early summer.
The company’s latest endeavor makes for a total of three projects and six buildings. Sheek said Hancock County’s pro-business outlook, Mt. Comfort’s proximity to Interstate 70 and development successes throughout the area have all been motivating the company to continue building there.
“When you see other companies having success, they want to keep going to that same location,” Sheek said. “I think you saw that in Plainfield and Whitestown, and both of those areas are starting to get kind of filled, and Mt. Comfort has a lot of growth potential still.”
Dallas-based CTR Logistics is planning a $33 million, 1,055,000-square foot building near County Roads 300N and 700W, northwest of Carvana’s facility. Randy Sorrell, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council, said the company plans to start construction this spring.
The Hancock County Council unanimously approved a 10-year property tax abatement for CTR Logistics’ project earlier this month. Council members are slated to hold a public hearing and final vote on the same kind of tax break for GDI Construction’s latest building next month. The abatements completely cut taxes in the properties’ first year before the liability is phased in gradually over the years that follow.
Since western Hancock County’s spec building surge started ramping up in early 2019, abatements for up to 32 properties have been approved. The total square-footage estimates of the projects exceed 13 million with estimated capital investments totaling over $587 million.
Sorrell estimates about 10 of the buildings have been completed and leased or bought.
Much of what’s been driving the surge is companies’ need for inventory, Sorrell said. On the e-commerce front, the COVID-19 pandemic has only increased that need, he added.
“When a company’s ready to locate, they don’t have time to build a building, they need space right then,” Sorrell said.
And it isn’t showing any sign of slowing down, he continued.
“The need is very big out there,” he said. “We’re responding to stuff all the time.”