One of the nation’s largest companies is about to put down a small footprint in small town Washington, Indiana. Construction crews have moved into the site of the formerly world’s largest Ponderosa and are in the process of turning it into a small delivery hub for a contractor for Amazon.

Details of the project are not fully available, but Kye Hoffman, who owned the restaurant and has retained ownership of the building, says he closed a deal to lease the facility in May of 2020.

“This has been in the works for quite a while,” said Hoffman. “It is just now at the point where construction crews are on the scene and they are really getting after it.”

The developer on the project is NPSG out of Kennesaw, Georgia. They have torn a hole in the southside of the building to open it up for delivery vehicles. Inside the floor has been stripped down to the concrete and the walls have the look of a warehouse.

“I believe they will be operating a delivery service out of there for Amazon,” said Don Spillman with the Washington Board of Zoning and Appeals. “It will be a delivery warehouse, a lot like the UPS facility on the east side.”

“We do know that once the construction crews get finished, they will be looking to hire people,” said Daviess County Commissioner Ron Arnold.

Just how many people may be able to find work there and what type of jobs they will be was not immediately available.

“I have a non-disclosure agreement and cannot talk to any of the details here,” said Hoffman. “I can tell you this is going to be great for the region, great for the county and great for the city.”

Bryant Niehoff, Executive Director for the Daviess County Economic Development Corp., says he has been working with Amazon on the project.

“This is what they call an exchange point,” said Niehoff. “It is going to be taking items from the large hubs and then sending them out for delivery. It is part of a large distribution system Amazon will be operating in Indiana.”

He says the facility will employ people in the warehouse with contract delivery drivers.

“This is absolutely a good thing for Washington and Daviess County,” said Niehoff. “It is great to see this area playing a part in the vast Amazon delivery network. I think it is a testament to our growing transportation system with the opening of I-69 that gives Washington access to major markets around the country. If this Amazon project is successful, hopefully, it will lead to more growth in our transportation and logistics businesses.”

While crews are preparing the old Ponderosa for a new life, construction workers are heading toward putting the final touches on the outside of the new Domino’s on East National Highway.

“If we get some more decent weather, I think we can finish the construction on the outside in the next two or three weeks,” said Jeff Owens, co-owner of Tabor-Owens Construction. “After that, the timing of the opening will be up to the owners.”

There are still ovens and other items to be brought in and installed. Owens says that with the shortages of materials that keep popping up, getting to the finish line on a project is becoming increasingly difficult.

“The material shortages are really hit and miss,” said Owens. “Sometimes you have to be more creative and take alternate materials. Right now, insulation is hard to find, and so is the board that goes down under rubberized roofs. It is hard to predict from day-to-day where the next shortage will be. It just seems like whatever there is a demand for on any day is what becomes difficult to get.”

While the large out-oftown companies are looking to plant their feet in Daviess County, a homegrown company is still working toward making a larger footprint. The TrueRx expansion on Washington east side is continuing toward a construction completion by the end of the year.

“We had some dif f iculty at first with the rains this spring,” said Owens. “We have had some material issues there as well and have had to make some adjustments. With the nicer weather we are making up some of the ground we lost earlier on the project.”
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