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New $20 million speculative industrial building coming to East Chicago
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New $20 million speculative industrial building coming to East Chicago

From the ICYMI: Here are the most-read stories from the past week series

An Illinois developer is planning construction of a 249,000-square-foot industrial building in East Chicago.

Lake County Economic Alliance President and CEO Karen Lauerman said the Homerlee Business Park would soon be built at the site of the former Edward Valve Company at 4400 Homerlee in East Chicago.

Green Door Books is writing its next chapter. The used bookstore, known for its art shows, $1 books, extensive zine library and namesake green door, is moving to a bigger spot in downtown Hobart after the local chain Toys in the Attic bowed out.

Des Plaines, Illinois-based developer The Missner Group plans to invest about $20 million in the project, which does not have any tenants lined up in advance.

"It's a spec building. We do not have an end user yet," Lauerman said. "It could be multiple companies, but if one company comes in we could put them in the entire 249,000 square feet."

The Homerlee Business Park will be located on a 14.4-acre site in an enterprise zone less than a mile from Interstate 90, close to the Interstate 80/94 expressway and adjacent to the Indiana Harbor Belt Railroad line. It's being marketed as "close to the Illinois border with easy access to downtown Chicago and major airports" and "adjacent to Walmart and FedEx distribution facilities."

"They plan on starting ground work and then construction later this year," Lauerman said.

Coming Sunday, ride along with Specialist Dyer as he patrols LaPorte.

It's one of two major speculative projects planned in East Chicago, where a developer also plans to build up to 3 million square feet of space at the East Chicago Logistics Center, a project that could bring up to 4,000 jobs and $200 million in investment.

The number of spec projects underway in Northwest Indiana shows the strength of the industrial market and also fills a need, Lauerman said.

"It's bringing product to market right now," she said. "We absolutely need the inventory. This is our answer, attracting the developers to take the risk to build the building because the old adage 'if you build it they will come' is absolutely true right now."

Speculative buildings, such as at AmeriPlex at the Crossroads Business Park, have helped lure new businesses and jobs to Northwest Indiana in recent years, Lauerman said. 

"We don't know exactly how many jobs it will be until we know what company or companies will come in," he said.

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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.

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The Missner Group has purchase agreements in place for a 45-acre parcel and a 26-acre parcel in the business park along Broadway and between 93rd and 101st avenues, said Eddie Adler, of Missner.

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