Town mulls annexation, warehouses

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Indianapolis-based GDI Companies wants to develop four speculative buildings south of McCordsville’s Stansbury neighborhood.

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This story has been updated in light of the developer requesting a continuance from the McCordsville Plan Commission’s August meeting.

McCORDSVILLE – A developer is asking McCordsville officials to annex over 160 acres onto the town’s south side for a project proposing four buildings totaling nearly 1.7 million square feet.

Indianapolis-based GDI Companies seeks the annexation at the northeast corner of CR 700W and 500N, which currently has a residential zoning designation through Hancock County. The builder is also asking the town for an industrial zoning designation to allow the speculative logistical buildings it wants to construct there.

McCordsville Town Council earlier this week voted 3-2 in favor of an ordinance on the annexation on the first of two readings, with Chad Gooding, Larry Longman and Branden Williams voting in favor and Greg Brewer and Tom Strayer voting against.

Longman noted annexation gives the town more influence over what happens on land and pointed out how difficult it is for municipalities to annex, as it must be voluntary on the part of landowners.

“I foresee that as a growth area,” he told the Daily Reporter of the site GDI is looking at. “The industrial (proposal) and the magnitude of what’s being proposed is really what we’ve been given to react to. There hasn’t been a subdivision proposed there. To make matters more complicated, I feel like we’ve been given the benefit by the developer approaching the town, when the town doesn’t really control that property yet, so I think there’s an avenue to discussions about what goes on there, for sure, and we welcome the public input.”

The council’s initial approval allowed for a public hearing on the matter Tuesday night and for the town’s plan commission to consider a recommendation on the site’s zoning designation next month. Williams said that was his primary motivation for voting in favor on first reading.

“I want to see it get in front of a few more people, get some more feedback,” he said.

At a future town council meeting after next week’s plan commission meeting, council members will vote on the annexation for the final time.

Just to the east of the site, Indianapolis-based Strategic Capital Partners has plans for three speculative warehouses totaling about 1.2 million square feet. That was part of Strayer’s reason for opposing the annexation.

“I’m not ready to approve any more speculative industrial until we see what’s really going on with what we’ve already approved,” Strayer said, adding he feels land use should start transitioning toward more residential moving farther west from Mt. Comfort Road.

Indianapolis-based GDI Companies wants to develop four speculative buildings totaling nearly 1.7 million square feet at the northeast corner of CR 700W and 500N. Submitted image

The Stansbury subdivision spans just to the north of the GDI and Strategic Capital Partners sites. Strategic Capital Partners’ location touches only Stansbury’s southeast corner, however, and will keep an existing tree buffer. The potential GDI site, on the other hand, shares much of Stansbury’s southern border.

“It’ll impact a lot more homes,” Brewer said.

Mike Sheek, director of business development for GDI, addressed town council members at Tuesday’s meeting.

“I’ve always understood, just in talking to people in the county, that the north side of 500N, even though this is technically in the county right now, is really kind of McCordsville’s domain,” Sheek said. “And I’ve also understood that McCordsville would like to add this kind of development to increase its tax base. … That’s the reason we brought it to be annexed and rezoned in McCordsville.”

Sheek added GDI would fund road improvements to CR 500N and 700W near the site if the project is able to move forward.

He also noted GDI has developed, started developing and has plans to develop multiple similar buildings in western Hancock County, including the logistics park underway just south of the site.

“This is the kind of work we do,” Sheek said. “We feel there’s still a lot of demand out there. And this area, as you can well see, has been in demand. There’s been a lot of developers that have built here and we’re willing to take the risk to spend a lot of money on some farm ground and then develop it in the future for these kinds of buildings.”

Briane House, a partner with Greenfield-based law firm Pritzke & Davis, representing GDI, said it would take 1,600 homes on the site to produce the same estimated tax revenue as GDI’s proposal.

“These sorts of projects, for a significant period of time – decades at least – will provide more than adequate tax revenue for this community,” House said.

Tuesday’s public hearing drew one opponent – Melissa Skoczylas – who lives in The Meadows at Sagebrook neighborhood just west of Stansbury.

“I am absolutely against having any type of light industrial or warehousing near my neighborhood,” she said. “…This is not why we moved to McCordsville.”

If you go

What: McCordsville Plan Commission meeting

When: 6:30 p.m. Sept. 20

Where: McCordsville Town Hall, 6280 W. 800N, McCordsville

Why: The commission will consider a zoning designation for a proposed project involving speculative warehouses