MERRILLVILLE | A Merrillville company is planning to expand and the town hopes it can attract several other businesses considering locations in Merrillville.
Prime Conveyor has told town officials it intends to add about 12,000 square feet of production space at its facility at 8903 Louisiana St.
The expansion would create three new jobs at the business, which designs, manufactures, installs and services conveyors.
Each of the new jobs would have salaries around $51,000, Town Council President Shawn Pettit said.
Prime Conveyor is seeking real estate and personal property tax abatement for the project.
The Economic Development Committee advanced the proposal to the Town Council for its approval.
Merrillville Zoning Director Dorinda Gregor said a facility offering assisted living, short-term rehab services and an Alzheimer's center could be built on 7.5 acres near 90th Drive and Broadway.
The project's developers first discussed the proposal about a year ago with Merrillville officials. Gregor said developers also were looking at locations in other communities.
Merrillville is now one of two communities in the running to land the new facility, she said.
Pettit said the development would be a good addition to that area, which is near the Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus and other medical offices.
"It's a very nice facility," he said.
Town Administrator Howard Fink said he has been in contact with four other businesses considering locations in Merrillville.
"We're working on a lot right now," Fink said.
He described the activity as "large deals," but he and other town leaders said they are unable to provide details about the business prospects now.
Fink said the increase in businesses interested in Merrillville locations could be a sign of an improving economy.
Pettit also views the Prime Conveyor expansion and business prospects as a positive sign, but he also considers residential development when determining improvements in the economy.
He said the number of new residential building permits issued in Merrillville has been "sluggish," but he noted a new residential subdivision could be developed near 86th Avenue and Merrillville Road.
Van Prooyen Builders wants to build 31 duplexes north of 86th Avenue and 30 duplexes south of the road.
Last month, the town's Plan Commission granted initial approval of the project, but more approvals are needed before construction could begin.