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VALPARAISO — Holladay Properties has one more thing to do before it can mobilize equipment and manpower to begin construction on a parcel of land in the Eastport Centre business park.

"The last issue is for us to get the local building permit," said Mike Micka, vice president of development for Holladay Properties.

The developer purchased the approximately 10 acres, which is the home of the former Natural Ovens bakery, in 2015. 

In its place will be a 50,000-square-foot light industrial building that could house up to six tenants. Holladay Properties also received a seven-year tax abatement for construction of the building in 2015.

The company's initial plans were to build two similar-sized buildings on the parcel, with the second coming when the first was fully leased.

Micka said the project has been "filled with hurdles" including securing access easements and easement for a drainage pond. Initial bids for construction came in higher than anticipated.

However, he said they will mobilize on the property Aug. 14 and anticipate final inspections in mid-April.

The bakery constructed a dome on the property and opened operations in 2003. However, two years later, it filed for bankruptcy. The county attempted to sell the property at a tax sale, but when there were no takers, it was deeded to the city for redevelopment in 2013.

The city's Redevelopment Commission demolished the dome in 2014 and put the property up for sale two years ago. Holladay Properties submitted the lone bid. 

Micka said they have developed a prospective tenant list for the building and has one party interested in taking one-third of the space.

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Porter County Reporter

Joyce has been a reporter for nearly 40 years, including 23 years with The Times. She's a native of Merrillville, but has lived in Portage for 39 years. She covers municipal and school government in Porter County.