Griffith getting more than $10 million in biz investment, including Restaurant Depot big-box store

A new Restaurant Depot opened this month in Milford, Massachusetts. The big box wholesaler is planning to open a store on Ridge Road in Griffith, according to a town official. 

Businesses plan to invest more than $10.5 million in Griffith, including in a Restaurant Depot wholesale big-box store, a Dollar General and a new business park.

Restaurant Depot, which bills itself as the nation’s premier cash-and-carry food wholesaler, plans to build a 55,000-square-foot club warehouse, where restaurant owners can shop for food, on Ridge Road near Griffith Park Plaza, Town Council President Rick Ryfa said. The New York-based chain bought four houses, plans to demolish them, and is going before the town with a rezoning request in March.

"It's huge," Ryfa said. "There's one in Alsip that some local restaurants drive out to. Restaurant owners are very excited. It has everything you need to run a restaurant, whether food, napkins or cups."

Restaurant Depot plans to invest an estimated $6 million in the building, which would also serve restaurants in neighboring communities like Highland and Schererville, Ryfa said.

"I think there's a big demand for it," he said. "If everything goes well, we hope they'll start moving dirt mid-summer and maybe be open by early next year. It's going to be 55,000 square feet. It's a big store."

Dollar General also intends to invest $1 million to build a new discount store on Main Street, just west of Wildrose Brewing.

"It just passed the Plan Commission," Ryfa said. "They should be starting construction, we're hoping this spring, and could be open in the summer."

And developer Jeff Austgen with Austgen Companies in Griffith plans to invest around $3.5 million over the next three years in a new business park on Main Street that will ultimately have up to 35,000 square feet of space.

The Austgen Business Park will consist of four buildings on a four-acre site at 1210 E. Main St., just east of Wildrose Brewing. Austgen, who owns a contracting company and many rentals and storage facilities around the Region, said he planned to start construction on an 11,500-square-foot building at the end of April, and then build a 6,000-square-foot building and two 9,000-square-foot buildings over the next few years as space gets rented out.

A gymnastics competition facility plans to rent some of the space in the business park, and the remainder could be subdivided as small as 3,000 square feet for potential tenants that could include contractors, sales or service offices, or even a restaurant or two.

"Griffith has a great location,"  Austgen said. "It's a great town, and it's always a pleasure dealing with the town officials."

Griffith has attracted a significant amount of investment in recent years with assessed valuation growing from about $448 million in 2014 to about $665 million last year, Ryfa said.

"We've got a great business climate in Indiana and a low corporate tax rate in town," Ryfa said. "We've been proactive about bringing businesses in and have seen sustained growth."

For more information on the business park, visit www.austgen.com or call 219-961-8102.


Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.