VALPARAISO | An agreement was signed Monday for the city to buy the current North Coast Distributing site after the company moves to its new location on Ind. 49 early next year.
The city will pay $4 million for the property on Silhavy Road just south of the Canadian National tracks and will try to find a buyer who will bring jobs to the city. Failing that, it is expected to become the site of the city's new public works department campus.
Economic Development Director Matt Murphy said he's been working with a couple of potential buyers through the state. Although the facilities lend themselves to being a distribution center, Murphy said one of the companies he talked to is involved in technology, and the city is open to all possibilities.
The signing of the intention to buy the property is the first of three big dominoes that will now topple fairly quickly to bring about construction of North Coast's new $18 million, 250,000-square-foot facility on Ind. 49 across from the Porter County Sheriff's Department.
North Coast can now sign a planned agreement with Larson Danielson to proceed with construction of the new building, and Larson Danielson can complete the purchase of the site. Larson Danielson is building the facility and leasing it to North Coast.
Stuart Summers, executive director of the city's Redevelopment Commission, which is funding the city's purchase of the old site, said the city is trying to acquire an additional acre from the neighboring property owner to accommodate an alternative design for the new access road the commission also is funding.
Instead of a right angle leading onto Ind. 49 from the access road, Summers said the alternate plan would create an S-shaped connection that would allow more trucks to stack at the light and enable them to get up more momentum when the light turns green. As part of the new access design, the city is installing the traffic signal.
Summers said the change would eliminate the kind of problem that exists at Silhavy and U.S. 30. The city has made an offer for the additional property and is awaiting a response. Either way, the road, which also will be built by Larson Danielson, will be ready in November, he said.
City Administrator Bill Oeding said the city first hopes to find a business to occupy the current North Coast site. At some point, as yet undetermined, if city officials are not successful, the public works campus is the next option. It's something Oeding has worked on for almost eight years.
"We have buildings that are old and in sad shape, and it's not a nice work environment," Oeding said. "We will be able to put all our equipment under one roof and have space if we expand. It will offer a better shop environment and work environment, and it is a great location."