KINGSBURY | The long talked about intermodal facility at Kingsbury could be ready to take off now that the site has landed its first company.
Helena Chemical Co., a leading distributor of fertilizer and other farm products, has bought land at the new Inland Logistics Port, making it the first customer at the 800-acre site at Kingsbury Industrial Park.
Matt Reardon, director for the La Porte County Office of Economic Development, now expects a snowballing effect at the site that's been years in the making.
"I believe any time you're able to get a national company into a location that helps drive interest," Reardon said.
How many jobs will be created at the new Kingsbury facility was not disclosed.
But the Colliersville, Tenn.-based comapny has about 4,000 employees, including more than 900 sales representatives working out of more than 400 locations across the country.
"Helena plans to continue to service our customers with better and more efficient facilities in the LaPorte and surrounding counties' area. We are very excited about the site we have chosen and the support of the community that we have received," said Doug Goff, division manager of Helena Chemical Co. out of Carmel, Ind.
Inland Logistics Port had a rail spur last year extended to the site from an existing CSX rail line to service the property, and in 2012 the ground was given a prestigious CSX Select Site certification due to it being in a position to alleviate freight train congestion in the Chicago area.
Reardon said Helena Chemical Co. at its own expense will extend another rail spur to where it's going to build from an existing Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad line a half mile away.
The new line will at some point be connected to the rail spur extended last year into Inland Logistics Port from the CSX line.
The decision by the company to expand at the Inland Logistics Port was made without seeking tax abatement or any other government incentives, Reardon said.
"When the private sector wants to do their business, as long as they're doing it within the parameters of the law we applaud it. We welcome the jobs not only on the construction side but on the company side," Reardon said.
The infrastructure to be paid for by the company will give the industrial park more than one rail line, something viewed as an advantage in trying to attract more companies.
"The infrastructure investments made to date have transformed these 800 acres into an industrial park with dual-rail service capability that can attract national companies," said Colin Halfwassen, president of the Halfwassen Group the owner of the Inland Logistics Port.
Helena Chemical Co. bills itself as one of the nation's foremost distributors of crop protection and crop production inputs and services for agricultural turf and ornamental, forestry, aquatics and vegetation management markets.
Karen Lauerman, director of marketing and communications with the Northwest Indiana Forum, also said landing the first company should help the effort to bring other companies to the site.
"It's something that we can tout. We're happy that they chose Northwest Indiana and we'll be working with them to find maybe other companies that are in a related industry," Lauerman said/
The decision by the company to expand comes while local officials continue to try and wrap up a deal for Green Express to build a cold storage warehouse at Kingsbury to transport fresh produce in refrigerated freight cars to and from Florida for distribution throughout the Midwest and in other countries.
Expansion also is ongoing by Kingsbury Elevator, which is extending a rail line to where it has operated for several decades to increase the volume of grain it can take in to store and ship.