MERRILLVILLE | An initial decision on whether town officials will support an industrial facility occupying space near Broadway and 61st Avenue won't happen until August at the earliest.
Crossroads Plaza LLC, has had difficulties filling the commercial center it owns at the southwest corner of the intersection. A proposal to change the zoning of the land from its current community commercial classification to a limited industrial corridor overlay district could create an opportunity to generate more activity there, according to project representatives.
Town officials said they aren't ready to consider approving the zone change until more details are provided regarding the types of operations that could go at the location.
The zone change proposal requires Plan Commission and Town Council approval. The commission will be the first panel to act on the request, which could occur next month.
If Crossroads Plaza’s concept advances, it would raze all or a portion of the buildings it owns in the commercial center to make way for the proposed industrial facility. Ruler Foods and Dollar General are among businesses currently leasing space there.
Richard Anderson, an attorney representing Crossroads Plaza, said he has provided the town with a draft of a zoning commitment that would limit the uses allowed at the site if the zone change is granted.
That document includes nearly two dozen uses, such as mechanical service providers, food distribution, engineering services and cold storage facilities.
Merrillville officials want a more extensive list of what could occur at the location if the zone change is approved.
Plan Commission President Brian Dering said food processing is among the uses in the zoning commitment. Dering said there are many types of food processing that could be acceptable in that area, but there are others, such as a slaughterhouse, that Merrillville would not want to see at that site.
Anderson said a slaughterhouse isn’t a type of operation Crossroads Plaza would want there, and he will develop a more thorough list.
He said there are existing operations on the Broadway corridor that are similar to what could occupy the proposed building at the Crossroads Plaza site. That includes warehousing.
He said Crossroads Plaza sees the potential in bringing an industrial facility to the Broadway and 61st Avenue intersection.
“There's interest out there,” Anderson said.
Work to demolish existing buildings and create a new structure wouldn’t start until a tenant is found for the facility, Anderson said.
Outlots on the property, including restaurants and a medical facility, aren’t owned by Crossroads Plaza, and they wouldn't be affected by the project.