The Greenfield City Council has tentatively approved tax abatement for two large, speculative buildings in the city's Progress Park.
The Greenfield City Council has tentatively approved tax abatement for two large, speculative buildings in the city's Progress Park.
GREENFIELD — The speculative development of large buildings that’s been surging in western Hancock County over the past couple years has spread to Greenfield.

Indianapolis-based Shear Property Group and The Peterson Company want to bring two buildings of about 400,000 square feet each to the area north of Interstate 70 and east of Fortville Pike at an estimated investment of $46 million. The industrially zoned land is west of BWI Group’s plant in Progress Park.

Larry Siegler of Shear Property Group and The Peterson Company told Greenfield City Council members recently that it was only a matter of time before more interest in industrial developments started heading their way.

“The way the industrial market has developed, everybody wanted to be in Indianapolis,” Siegler said. “Then everybody chose the first exit out of (Interstate) 465 — Plainfield, Mt. Comfort, Greenwood. All those places are getting filled up. Now people are looking out to the next exit, and we’re going to Franklin, we’re going to Westfield, we’re going farther out.”

The development eyed for Greenfield is speculative, meaning without any occupants yet secured.

Roof materials for large industrial buildings are taking eight months to deliver, Siegler said, adding steel is taking nine months. An order for precast wall panels made today wouldn’t be ready until February 2023.

Without buildings developed on speculation, Siegler said, a company looking to come to Hancock County now with needs for a large space likely wouldn’t be able to begin operations until 2024.

“That’s just not going to happen in today’s world,” he continued. “These companies — they don’t wait that long. They show up, they call me and say, ‘What do you got first quarter of ’22? Not Jan. 1 of ’24.’ Spec building can put us at a competitive advantage. Having that building there gives us the opportunity to find the good companies to come to Greenfield.”

Siegler is confident the proposed Greenfield development would be leased quickly. Of the space in Shear Property Group’s seven buildings in central Indiana, 95% is leased, he added.

“We have very, very little vacancy,” he said. “Almost all the buildings have multiple tenants. We’re extremely flexible. We don’t just hold out for the big distribution company. We try to be nimble in going after a smaller company or a medium-sized company, and we’re willing to break up our buildings into multiple tenants.”

He noted the speculative building near Mt. Comfort Road and County Road 300N that Shear Property Group developed several years ago was fully leased before its walls went up. Siegler also referred to a recent Colliers analysis reporting 3.8% vacancy in the area’s industrial market.

Greenfield City Council voted 6-0 in favor of a resolution on first reading that would phase in property taxes on the development. Those taxes would be abated 100% the first year, 95% the second, 80% the third, 65% the fourth, 50% the fifth, 40% the sixth, 30% the seventh, 20% the eighth, 10% the ninth and 5% the 10th before being fully phased in. Council members Kerry Grass, John Jester, Jeff Lowder, Mitch Pendlum, George Plisinski and Dan Riley voted in favor while Gary McDaniel was not present. A public hearing on the abatement and second vote is slated for the council’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 27.

“Yeah, taxes are going to phase in, but we’re competing with others that are doing that,” Siegler said. “We’re here to build that shell building so that we’re ready when a company comes and says, ‘Hey, we want to be in in three or four months,’ we’re ready to go.”

Ron Pritzke, a lawyer with Greenfield-based Pritzke & Davis representing the development, agreed.

“Like it or not, we in Greenfield are in competition with other communities every day for investment and jobs,” Pritzke said. “Getting started on this project will in fact give the city of Greenfield a significant advantage over this competition.”

The site is in Plisinski’s city council district. He told the Daily Reporter he’s very familiar with Shear Property Group’s product, particularly in Greenwood.

“They don’t leave buildings empty for very long,” Plisinski said. “They have a good variety of tenants, at least in that area.”

He also noted the industrially zoned field next to BWI has been empty for a while.

“We built Progress Park and Opportunity Parkway for a reason, and that’s for progress,” he said.

Progress Park’s primary occupant is Elanco Animal Health, which opened its world headquarters in the business park in 2010. The company is building a new headquarters complex west of downtown Indianapolis.
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