ANDERSON — When NTK Precision Axle Corp. brings its 198 jobs to Anderson, it will add to a growing industrial area along West 73rd Street.
City and state officials made the announcement Friday that the company that makes drive-shaft components will land adjacent to sister plant NTN Driveshaft in Anderson.
With nearly 3,000 workers moving into and out of the area each workday, and thousands more commuting down Interstate 69 every day, how can the city use industrial development to lure subsequent retail and restaurant development to the area?
When Greenwood Mayor Mark W. Myers was faced with the same question during the construction of a new exit off Interstate 65 in 2015, his answer was to focus on constructing quality-of-life infrastructure to attract new residents.
“Millennials, they want to find a place to live and play and they will move there; then they will find a place to work,” Myers said. That's different from previous generations who would follow work or plan to commute.
Located near Indianapolis along a major interstate artery, much like Anderson, Myers said industrial businesses in Greenwood are often understaffed or bring in commuting workers from nearby counties.
However, he hopes a focus on constructing new parks, creating walkable and bicyclable roads and amenities like a new indoor skating rink that was recently announced will get more people to move to the Johnson County city.
“So it’s building the amenities and the infrastructure first,” he said. “Then you can look at bringing in the distribution and retail.”
For Anderson, Greg Winkler, executive director of the Anderson Economic Development Department, said attracting new residents is part of the city’s plan to bring in new retail development as well.
And once there’s a large enough residential base, the “quality-of-life businesses” will come," Winkler said. “Business brings business.”
However, aside from possibly a large hotel, restaurant or a combination of the two, Winkler said there’s simply not a lot of room for development at Exit 222 near Flagship Enterprise Center, Nestle and the new NTK factory.
“I would not be surprised though, I think we will see a hotel and restaurant combo out there soon,” he said.
The land along West 73rd Street near the interstate is mostly zoned industrial and land cost is likely too high for a small restaurant or fast-food chain.
Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. said the city is contracting to create a study to determine which types of businesses can flourish in certain sections in the city. It mostly is focused on building at current retail centers.
“What’s important is to have a lot of additional locations available,” the mayor said.
As for more industrial development in the industrial park, Chuck Staley, President and CEO of the Flagship Enterprise Center, said it’s only a matter of time.
“Four tier-one suppliers is making a statement about Anderson,” he said. “I think the word is out that this is a great place for advanced manufacturing and we’re going to see more of this.”
With the NTK announcement, as well as recent expansion announcements by Nestle USA and NTN Driveshaft, Staley thinks more industrial business is incoming.
“These companies will bring their suppliers, with just the timing in manufacturing it helps to be located right next door,” he said. “I think Anderson is continuing to be an international destination.”