Chesterton kicking off financial arm of Urschel move

2013-01-13T00:00:00Z 2013-01-13T22:39:05Z Chesterton kicking off financial arm of Urschel moveBob Kasarda bob.kasarda@nwi.com, (219) 548-4345 nwitimes.com
January 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

CHESTERTON | Just a few weeks after it was revealed that Chesterton will soon be the location of the new corporate headquarters of Urschel Laboratories Inc., town officials are going to work on potential financial assistance for the project.

Those close to the deal said the financial incentives of the move have not been solidified and will be worked out at a series of public meetings beginning Monday with the Economic Development Commission at 6:30 p.m. and the Town Council at 7 p.m.

The 160-acre parcel targeted for the project in Chesterton's Coffee Creek Center is designated as a tax increment financing district, which offers the option of using tax growth from the new development to fund site improvements.

A description of TIFs on the town's website said among the benefits of this approach is that it transfers the risk from taxpayers to the holders of the municipal bonds issued to raise money for the improvements. The bonds are paid back with the new revenue generated by the project.

Bill Baker, Urschel Laboratories director of real estate, said the financial incentives were just part of the many factors that went into the decision to relocate the company headquarters after more than 50 years from Valparaiso to Chesterton.

"It's like a recipe," he said.

The Coffee Creek site was attractive because it offers room for growth along with easy access to Ind. 49 and the Indiana Toll Road, Baker said.

Urschel plans to begin construction this year on the $104 million, 350,000-square-foot corporate headquarters and manufacturing plant east of Ind. 49 and north of the Indiana Toll Road. The company's more than 300 employees are expected to start at the new site in the spring of 2015.

Matt Reardon, who has aided the site selection and engineering as a consultant with SEH Inc. of Munster, downplayed the importance of the financial package in the works.

"Incentives were not the driver," he said.

Yet those perks include an offer for $200,000 in training grants from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. as a result of the company keeping its operations and jobs in the state, Reardon said.

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