MERRILLVILLE | Dawn Food Products has plans to consolidate its Crown Point and Munster facilities into one distribution center in Merrillville.
A new 120,000-square-foot facility would be constructed in the AmeriPlex at the Crossroads development near Broadway and 101st Avenue, said Derith Jarvis, director of research and site selection at Mohr Partners, a corporate real estate advisory and consulting firm.
The new facility represents a $15 million to $20 million investment, Jarvis said.
Larry Mudd, vice president of development at Holladay Properties, said construction could start in the spring and the site could open in October.
"We're superexcited about it," Mudd said of the new distribution center.
The company's nearly empty Crown Point plant was purchased in December by Illinois-based Van Drunen Farms, officials with both companies said Tuesday.
Details of the sale were not provided.
Van Drunen Farms, of Momence, Ill., grows and processes organic and conventional food ingredients for the food industry, according to the company website.
The 125,000-square-foot facility at 1300 E. Summit St. in Crown Point will provide room for the family-owned business to expand, company President Kevin Van Drunen said.
"We thought it would be a good facility to help us with future growth," Van Drunen said.
The Merrillville Town Council on Tuesday unanimously approved 10-year real estate and personal property tax abatement for the Dawn Food Products project.
"I think it's gonna be a good addition to the town," said Councilman Tom Goralczyk, chairman of Merrillville's Economic Development Committee.
Dawn Food Products, an international supplier of commercial food products for bakery owners and managers, currently has 72 employees at its Crown Point and Munster facilities, Jarvis said. Those employees will work at the new Merrillville location after it opens, he said. An additional six to 10 new employees also would be hired at the new distribution center, he said.
Van Drunen Farms executives are developing a plan for how they'll use the Crown Point location, Van Drunen said.
"We don't yet have a firm plan of what we would be processing there," he said.
Crown Point Mayor David Uran said Tuesday, "I'm happy the building was sold. Based on the history of the new owner, it's a very good family-owned business."
Dawn Food Products will lease space in the Crown Point building until October, company spokesman Stephen Lee said. The company still employs 14 in a warehouse area of the plant, Lee said.