Cold storage business warming to idea of $9 million expansion at Hobart site

2013-03-20T22:16:00Z 2013-07-05T18:54:15Z Cold storage business warming to idea of $9 million expansion at Hobart siteDeborah Laverty, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223

HOBART | Representatives of a Michigan-based refrigeration company are warming to the idea of a $9 million expansion at an existing site in Hobart.

That decision will be finalized in coming weeks with the Hobart site the leading contender of three possible locations, Andrew B. Janson said.

Janson serves as president of Hanson Logistics, which is based in St. Joseph, Mich.

"If we can get this put together then the expansion would be constructed in Hobart," Janson said.

The City Council on Wednesday set an April 3 hearing for Hanson Logistics, which has a Hobart plant at 2201 Northwind Parkway in the Northwind Crossings Business Park.

Jason Bransteter, vice president of design and engineering for Tippmann Group, said he was hired by Hanson Logistics to determine which of three locations would be best for the expansion plans.

The other two locations being considered are Lafayette and Benton Harbor, Mich.

"We looked at everything including incentives," Bransteter said.

Presently there are two Hanson Logistics plants in Hobart including phase one, a 135,000-square-foot building constructed in 2007 and phase two, a 60,000-square-foot building constructed in 2010.

The proposed phase three building would be 85,000 square feet, Bransteter said.

Bransteter said the one hurdle to moving forward in Hobart is the fact that the city had developed the stormwater retention when the first two phases were built.

Presently, Hanson Logistics would be responsible for that development, he said.

Bransteter and Janson said they may be able to work around that issue because Hobart officials are offering to extend an existing five-year tax abatement on the property by an additional year.

Both men said they'd like to build on the 21-acre site by next month.

The third phase, which they'd like to have open for business by September, would hire an additional 10 to 12 employees.

Plans also include stocking the new $9 million plant with $1.5 million in equipment.

In other business, the City Council turned down a variance request from petitioners Amie Gadberry and John Stolarz to operate a dog kennel/training facility at 9250 E. Ridge Road.

City Councilman Pete Mendez, D-2nd, said he received calls from neighbors opposed to it because of the noise and potential danger to children.

"It's not a good fit for that area," Mendez said.

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