Development zones advance

April 12th, 2018

By Rosa Salter Rodriguez | The Journal Gazette

The Allen County Redevelopment Commission on Tuesday created a new economic development area near the General Motors plant and amended another near Parkview Regional Medical Center. 

The new Lafayette Center Economic Development Area would encompass 8.8 acres on the northwest corner of Lafayette Center Road and Fogwell Parkway in Lafayette Township. 

The corner is the site of the first industrial “spec” or “shell” building in unincorporated Allen County, a project being supported financially through partnership with the Allen County commissioners and the County Council. A spec building is built without a specific tenant in mind; a shell building allows a user to finish empty space according to a company's needs.

The newly amended economic development area adds 84.51 acres to a second allocation area to the Diebold-Dupont Economic Development Area, approved in November and intended to facilitate economic growth along and near Dupont Road east of Interstate 69 near Parkview Regional Medical Center.  

The area would be called the Diebold Corner Allocation Area and lies at the northeast corner of Dupont and Diebold roads. The property is mostly undeveloped but includes land approved for a dual-branded luxury Hilton Garden Inn hotel and accompanying commercial area.

The allocation area had an assessed value of $11.5 million as of January, according to documents supporting the plan for the economic development area.

An economic development area allows any increase in taxes from a property's rise in value by virtue of being developed to go back into infrastructure improvements in allocation areas designated under the EDA.

To qualify as an EDA, properties must provide economic benefits such as creating or retaining jobs, and promote general welfare such as increasing the tax base.  

The 100,000-square-foot spec building in Lafayette Township has been proposed by PB Development LLC and built by Michael Kinder and Sons of Fort Wayne. It is designed to offer companies a quick way to expand or locate in the county without having to acquire land or build a structure.

Alan Tio, representative of Michael Kinder and Sons, told the commission the strategy has been used in Fort Wayne, Warsaw, Bluffton and Columbia City, He said all those buildings are occupied or recently sold. Because of the “low inventory” of similar options, the project has an excellent chance of success at this time, he said.

No end user has ever been publicly specified. But the developer indicated in documents that the building might be used by a tier 1 or tier 2 parts supplier to GM.

Kinder received a 10-year tax phase-in from the County Council in October and was approved by county commissioners for a reimbursement for construction loan carrying costs of up to 5 percent a year for four years.

But the builder chose to self-finance, and a new financing arrangement must be worked out, Scott Harrold, senior economic development specialist with the Department of Planning Services, said at the meeting.

“It's kind of convoluted,” he said of the pending arrangements, which did not come up for a vote Tuesday.

Both EDA proposals, which were unanimously approved by the redevelopment commission, also must be approved by the Allen County Plan Commission and the county  commissioners before being sent back to the redevelopment commission for a public hearing and adoption vote.

Categories & Tags Business Climate