LIMA — To jump-start economic development efforts in 2021, the Allen Economic Development Group is concentrating on constructing spec buildings and expanding the Gateway 5 industrial park.
Currently, AEDG’s 2021 agenda includes the construction of two spec buildings at two locations. The first build project — known as “Project Gunsmoke” — would construct a 100,000-square-foot facility on Commerce Parkway near Interstate 75.
“The challenge has been we don’t have the building structures to meet the needs, and that’s why we’re in pursuit of the spec buildings. Some businesses don’t need the building up, but most that are interested in Allen County, they want a building structure, even if it’s not ideal,” AEDG President/CEO Dave Stratton said.
Due to AEDG’s efforts, that area nearby has already seen multiple builds as manufacturers moved in throughout 2020. Logoplaste announced its move last July, and the Portugal-based plastics manufacturer is on track to be up and running by next spring. Also included in that group is Randall Bearings and Perry ProTech, which have both staked out properties for future builds.
By expanding infrastructure to prep for the Randall Bearings build, AEDG also opened up 70 acres of new property in the area. Called Gateway 5, AEDG made the property available by extending utility hookups and constructing a 1,000-foot road into a field south of FedEx.
“We’re looking right now how we can parcel those sites,” Stratton said.
As for the second spec building, Stratton said AEDG is looking to flip the brownfield site that had once held the former Davidson Enamel Products facility on Kibby Street. The property will need some remediation to bring it up to par, but eventually, the goal for both projects is to create spec buildings for future facilities within the next few years.
“There are other sites in Allen County that would certainly need remediation of brownfields, but our focus is going to be on these two sites initially,” Stratton said.
Both projects plan to use JobsOhio grants and funds to help make them possible. The first is looking at the Ohio Site Inventory Program, which offers grains and low-interest loans to construct buildings, and the second involves a JobsOhio revitalization grant.
Outside of the spec buildings, Stratton said AEDG will also be looking to capitalize on its business retention and expansion program by holding 100 meetings with area businesses to offer AEDG’s resources and services.
“2020 was a very successful year for economic development, even in the midst of the COVID-19 health crisis, and because of that, we have a number of projects in the pipeline. We’re optimistic about 2021 being successful as well,” Stratton said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.