Von Tobel annexation moving fast in Valpo

2013-08-27T12:00:00Z 2013-08-27T23:32:07Z Von Tobel annexation moving fast in ValpoPhil Wieland phil.wieland@nwi.com, (219) 548-4352 nwitimes.com
August 27, 2013 12:00 pm  • 

VALPARAISO | The city appears poised to grow by 54.25 acres at the when the City Council meets Sept. 9.

Not a discouraging word was heard during Monday's public hearing on the annexation sought by Von Tobel Lumber. The property is located along U.S. 30 between County Roads 325 and 400 East and is mostly used for farming now, Von Tobel President and CEO Ken Pylipow said.

The exception is a building now leased on a six-month basis to an electrical contractor for office and warehouse space. The preliminary plan for developing the property shows six separate building sites that could have 323,000 square feet of space for new businesses similar to what is in the nearby Montdale Industrial Park.

Based on those conceptual plans, the city estimated revenue from the property would be about $315,665 a year with annual costs for providing service at about $37,169. It's currently valued for tax purposes at $209,500, but that would increase to $24 million after it is developed.

Pylipow said he has worked with Ed Sylvester, owner of the property to the west that already is in the city, for the past year through the same real estate company to market the properties jointly and to try to make them more attractive. The Sylvester property has a drainage ditch through its middle that could hinder development.

Plans call for a new east/west road running from 400 East and all access to the Von Tobel property would be from 400 East because of the railroad track that runs parallel to U.S. 30 along the north boundary of the Von Tobel site.

Pylipow said city sewer already runs along U.S. 30, and a study done by GAI engineering consultants three years ago suggested a deceleration lane leading to the intersection with 400 East to make it safer and easier for traffic to enter the site. Other road improvements would depend on how the property is developed.

"One of our most critical economic development needs is shovel-ready industrial sites," Mayor Jon Costas said. "This and other sites we have added put us in a better position than we were five years ago. This is a really exciting project, and we hope there's a lot of activity moving forward."

At the public hearing, Pylipow provided letters from Sylvester and the adjacent property owner to the south supporting the annexation.

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