Westville Stock

A stretch of Main Street in Westville is shown. The town's food distribution warehouse will soon be reoccupied.

Dollar General will store and distribute food at an abandoned warehouse in Westville that's undergoing a $24 million renovation.

The retail chain is asking for a five-year tax abatement on the $8 million in new equipment its planning to use in the 680,000 square foot structure.

Matt Reardon, director at the Office of Economic Development for LaPorte County government, said Dollar General will occupy almost 300,000 square feet of the building and create at least 80 jobs.

A LaPorte County Council vote on the request for tax abatement is expected in January. Reardon said Dollar General plans to begin its move into the building in May and complete it in August.

Dollar General will be a tenant of North Point Development, the new owners of the former Spartan Nash building last occupied in 2016.

The Kansas City, Missouri, firm bills itself as the nation’s second largest private landlord, with 170 tenants and $5 billion worth of real estate investment since 2012.

Completion of the Westville warehouse renovation is expected in June.

Reardon said North Point Development was already engaged in talks with Dollar General when granted a five-year tax abatement on its $24 million investment at the end of October.

Reardon said he didn’t know if any other companies were lined up to occupy the remainder of the space, but others usually follow once a major retailer has signed on.

"It doesn’t happen very often where you have a facility owned by one group, and then (occupied by) multiple tenants, but when you get to the larger-sized buildings you’ll see that," Reardon said.

North Point Development officials have said their interest in the property was based in part on the excellent condition of the structure and its complex refrigeration system. The renovation is expected to be complete in June.

General Motors, Caterpillar, Amazon, Continental Tire and Chewy.com are among the company’s tenants at other locations.

The Westville facility, situated on 90 acres  along U.S 421, has been a food warehouse since at least the 1970s, when Eagle Foods and later Roundy’s operated there.

LaPorte County Council President Randy Novak worked there for Eagle Foods in the early 1980s, filling orders for local supermarkets.

Novak said it was heartbreaking to see the building empty, but said he's elated at its new lease on life.

"It’s like a breath of fresh air to have somebody come into LaPorte County and invest that much money in there. Dollar General is coming and that just sweetens the deal even more. We’re very excited," Novak said.