Annexation could fill Valpo need for shovel ready sites

2013-06-12T13:55:00Z 2013-06-12T20:15:10Z Annexation could fill Valpo need for shovel ready sitesPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com

VALPARAISO | The numbers favor Valparaiso's annexation of a 54.25-acre parcel on U.S. 30 by a wide margin.

The city's Plan Commission held a public hearing Tuesday on the request of Von Tobel Corp. to add property it owns at U.S. 30 and County Road 400 East as a potential shovel-ready industrial site. The commission is expected to vote on its recommendation to the City Council in July.

According to estimates prepared by city Planning Director Tyler Kent, the property would generate about $315,665 a year in various tax revenues along with another $8,533 in utility revenue. The annual cost for the city to provide service to the property would be about $37,169. The property now produces about $2,700 in property taxes in the county.

The property has one building, which Von Tobel President and CEO Ken Pylipow said has warehouse and some office space and is leased by a company that does electrical work for NIPSCO.

As part of the annexation application, a concept plan for the property was prepared showing six buildings with a total of 323,000 square feet of space for industrial use. That is what Kent used to calculate the potential revenues and expenses, estimating the developed value of the property at $24.2 million.

It would be comparable to the Montdale Industrial Park just to the west of Von Tobel's. Pylipow said Von Tobel has no plans to develop the site, and it has been for sale for several years.

A drainage ditch through the middle of the adjoining property would create a problem for developing it, which would be eased by combining it with the Von Tobel site, he said. Sewer service already is available on U.S. 30, and extending a waterline would cost about $1.1 million, which the developer would pay.

Most of the land is used for farming now, and Pylipow said none of the neighbors objected to the annexation.

During the public hearing, Valparaiso resident Richard Wheeler opposed it, saying the city has "invaded Washington Township enough."

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