CHESTERTON │ More than 300 employees of Urschel Laboratories Inc. grabbed shovels and broke ground on the site of the company’s new manufacturing and global headquarters Thursday in Coffee Creek Center.
The employees were bused from Urschel’s current site on Calumet Avenue in Valparaiso to the nearly 160-acre property east of Ind. 49 and north of the Indiana Toll Road. Using specially engraved shovels, the employees, after being treated to lunch, hollowed out a giant Urschel logo in the footprint of what will be the new building.
“It’s really significant from the company’s standpoint,” said Tim O’Brien, Urschel Laboratories vice president of sales. “We’ve been around 103 years and in the current location since 1957. It’s obviously a huge investment by the Urschels. Being an employee here, it’s super exciting being a part of this.”
The more than $80 million project is expected to undergo an 18-month build, said Bill Baker, Urschel Laboratories director of real estate. The project is being undertaken by Tonn & Blank Construction, which built Urschel’s current location in 1957 and expanded it 10 times since.
“We’re glad to be here,” said Urschel Laboratories President Bob Urschel. “We have a lot of confidence that in the end we’re going to have a first-class factory.”
Chesterton Town Councilman Jeff Trout said it was an honor for the town to be selected for the new facility.
“We’re looking forward to a long relationship and a positive relationship,” he said “It’s an honor to keep the Urschel company and everything it represents here in Porter County.”
Urschel Laboratories employee Chris Wainman has worked at the company for almost 16 years. His mother worked there for 28 years. His girlfriend is a current employee.
“It’s an honor to be a part of this,” he said. “It’s huge just to be a part of this company.”
The company, founded in 1910 and currently located at 2503 Calumet Ave. in Valparaiso, designs and manufactures precision food-cutting equipment that is used in the food-processing industry in the U.S. and throughout the world.