GEO Group confirms Hobart land purchase

2013-11-06T17:22:00Z 2013-11-19T18:33:07Z GEO Group confirms Hobart land purchaseDeborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | Florida-based GEO Group Inc. purchased the former St. Sava property in Hobart, but there are no immediate plans to build a detention center there, a local attorney said Tuesday.

Merrillville attorney John Bushemi confirmed the company purchased the land. Bushemi serves as local legal counsel for GEO, a company that builds and operates correctional and detention facilities around the world.

In response to a story printed in The Times, Bushemi said the company has no immediate plans for the newly purchased parcel of land.

A source close to the project told The Times GEO Group plans to eventually build a detention center to process illegal immigrants.

"GEO has received no RFP (request for proposal) for any project from any government entity. And no proposal has been submitted to Hobart for use of the property," Bushemi said.

Bushemi said he couldn't discuss any plans the company might have for the property.

"There's no plan at this time," Bushemi said.

In addition to building and operating correctional and detention facilities, the company also acts as a real estate investment trust.

"And they do own undeveloped parcels of land in other parts of the country," Bushemi said.

The sale of the 40 acres of land owned by Bear Country Park took place Monday morning,  Hobart resident Larry Brown said.

Brown is a managing member and one of five partners comprising Bear Country Park. The property is east of Interstate 65 near Robinson Lake.

Mayor Brian Snedecor said he was unaware of the sale.

Any plans for the property would have to be approved by the Hobart Plan Commission and other city boards before going forward, Snedecor said.

Bear County Park owners — including Brown, Matt Butkus, Rudy Sutton, John Stofko and Louis Gerodemos — put the former St. Sava property for sale in November 2010.

Brown said developers gave up on plans to develop it and Robinson Lake after they lost city officials' backing.

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