GARY — The owner of an Illinois-based trucking firm hopes to open up a new facility in Gary which could create an estimated 500 jobs within five years.
Henry Malukas, the owner of HMD Trucking Inc., said he hopes to open the new facility in the first quarter of next year. It will include parking for 100 trucks and trailers and be located on an approximately 11-acre site between Texas and Michigan streets, north of East 15th Avenue.
Plans call for the site to include a 17,000-square-foot facility for truck and trailer maintenance and repair and warehousing. There will also be 9,000 square feet of office space for dispatchers, managers and others. Malukas said a driving school also may be situated there.
Malukas said he is hoping to hire Gary residents as much as possible. He spoke of how it makes more sense to have people working there who live in the local area rather than employees who would have to travel in from the Chicago area.
"We want local people, there is no question," he said.
Malukas joined Patrick Lee, of the Gary project management and construction firm of LEE Companies, in presenting the proposal to the Gary Redevelopment Commission on Wednesday. It still has to get various city approvals, including for the site plan. Lee said warehouse workers can make $21 an hour and managers and professional employees can make more than $50,000 annually.
The company will retain its facility in Chicago Ridge, Lee said, but Gary will be the company's headquarters.
According to officials, the project will represent a $5 million investment into the area. As part of the deal, $1.1 million in bonds will be issued to be paid off from money raised from funds in a tax increment financing district covering the site. The company plans to purchase the bonds.
Malukas cited the location of the site near Interstate 65 and Interstate 80 as the reason the company is coming to the city. Joseph Van Dyk, the city's planning and redevelopment director, said the project "really fits well' with the economic development plans for that area of the city.