La PORTE — More than 200 new jobs may soon be coming to La Porte County.

On Wednesday, Tony Rodriguez, director of the La Porte County Office of Community & Economic Development, informed the La Porte County Board of Commissioners that the ink is nearly dry on an agreement to bring a new manufacturer to Westville’s Midwest Trade Center warehouse.

The company, the name of which Rodriguez could not disclose, has agreed in principle with building owners NorthPoint Development on a lease for space inside the 680,000-square-foot facility on U.S. 421, where Dollar General operates its Midwest distribution and logistics center.

The economic development director believes a written deal between the two parties should be finalized in the coming days, he told the commissioners.

The manufacturer would make a “significant investment” in the community, creating more than 200 new jobs, Rodriguez said. It would become the warehouse’s fourth tenant, occupying the last remaining space inside.

The firm will add to the 285 full-time employees already working at the former SpartanNash warehouse, located at the south junction of U.S. 6. The facility reopened last year after having sat dormant for three years.

Since 2018, NorthPoint Development – a Kansas City, Missouri-based company that owns warehouse space in more than a dozen states – and Dollar General have invested $43 million into the 91-acre site, Rodriguez said.

La Porte County officials supported the project, with the County Council granting NorthPoint a five-year tax abatement in fall 2018.

Commissioner Vidya Kora, who attended last year’s ribbon-cutting ceremony for the refurbished warehouse, noted that Dollar General currently employs 190 people at the facility, double its original job projections.

Given that success, Kora is excited to learn that another company may soon create 200 more well-paying jobs at the facility.

“These are the kind of jobs that help people support [and] raise their families,” he said. “I think it will be great for the community.”

The news comes several months after Dallas-based manufacturer Corsicana Mattress Company announced it would invest $8.6 million to transform a vacant building outside La Porte into a new Midwest production facility.

Corsicana, which is aiming to begin operating out of the Pinola building by year’s end, is looking to initially hire 65 employees. The company intends to create up to 350 jobs over the next several years, depending on economic conditions and availability of workers.

As with the NorthPoint Development project, La Porte County officials are supporting Corsicana, granting the company a tax abatement as well as a $175,000 training grant.

The county Office of Community and Economic Development also recently supported another new employer, with veterinarians Lisa and Ryan Booth announcing last month they will be opening a new 5,400-square-foot animal hospital, at the south junction of U.S. 421 and State Road 2 in Westville.

The clinic, Hero Pet Animal Hospital, will hire around 15 people when it opens next year.

The owners are taking advantage of property tax relief granted through an Economic Revitalization Area, which the Westville Town Council established with the help of the economic development office.

Board president Sheila Matias credited the string of area job growth to the efforts of county leaders who have “put the pedal to the metal” when it comes to economic development in recent years, she said.

The recent surge in private investment is particularly noteworthy amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a massive toll on the American job market since the spring, she said.

“When you think about the crisis around economics around the world, and in our country, in particular, the fact we’ve had so many successes is a tremendous credit to our team, and a lot of late nights and effort,” Matias said.

© 2020 Herald Argus