Valpo buys land to create 'shovel ready' sites

2013-07-11T16:54:00Z 2013-07-11T23:25:08Z Valpo buys land to create 'shovel ready' sitesPhil Wieland, (219) 548-4352

VALPARAISO | After selling one property to a new business locating in the city Wednesday, the city's Redevelopment Commission then approved purchasing another property in hope of attracting more businesses.

The commission will pay $1.19 million for a 37.25-acre site adjacent to Eastport Centre industrial park and the Porter County Municipal Airport. The property was appraised at $1.785 million, but the owner agreed to the lower price and the remaining $594,500 will be considered a gift for tax purposes.

Up to 17 lots will be created on the property. Roads and other infrastructure will be installed to create "shovel ready" sites for companies interested in locating in the city. Six of the lots will abut the airport property, which could provide added incentive to companies needing aviation services.

To stimulate the development of the property, the commission hired Chester Inc., the developers of Eastport Centre, to draft the plat for the property, see it through the city's Plan Commission approval, do the construction drawings and manage the infrastructure installation.

The cost of the platting and construction drawings, $51,600, will be paid by giving Chester a percentage of the sale of the lots. The construction administration cost, $76,400, will come from the commission's speculative industrial park budget.

Chester estimated the total cost of the development at $1.04 million and said it will take about a year to complete. Each of the proposed lots would be about 1.5 acres, but a Chester spokesman said some companies might want more than one lot, as was the case with Eastport Centre.

Calling the project "a natural extension to Eastport," commission member Jim Jorgensen said, "We need to do more of this, but this is a great first step."

Stuart Summers, the commission's executive director, said the agreement with Chester "is a partnership to serve our mutual best interests."

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