MT. COMFORT — An Indianapolis-based developer is planning a nearly $80 million project to bring four speculative buildings to Mt. Comfort, an area that’s already recently drawn four move-in-ready properties.

Ambrose Property Group intends to bring the structures to a property of about 166 acres on the north side of West County Road 300N, west of North County Road 400W, across from Tsuda USA’s plant.

Mali Jeffers, vice president of marketing and corporate responsibility for Ambrose Property Group, told the Daily Reporter in an email that the first building will be a 508,000-square-foot logistics facility and that work is slated to start later this month.

The three structures that will follow will be “a combination of large and smaller buildings to attract a diverse range of businesses,” Jeffers continued, adding the “overall plan is flexible to accommodate potential users and clients’ needs.”

Scott Sanders, vice president of development for Ambrose Property Group, told the Hancock County Redevelopment Commission last week that the firm seeks high-credit clients with a diverse workforce that includes white- and blue-collar jobs.

Ambrose hopes to break ground on the first building on Oct. 14 and has already received some interest, Sanders said.

Sanders said the firm was impressed with the Urban Land Institute’s study of the Mt. Comfort Corridor that came out earlier this year. He also pointed out that the land the development is planned for is zoned industrial and the county’s comprehensive plan calls for development in the area.

“We want to do what we think the community wants,” Sanders said, “so we picked land that looks like it’s earmarked for this product type.”

Randy Sorrell, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council, said at the meeting that Ambrose Property Group’s paperwork for the tax abatement it’s requesting tallies its capital investment in the construction of the buildings at $78 million.

“I’m really excited about this,” Sorrell said. “It’s a great economic project for us and product for me to have to try to market.”

Ambrose seeks a 10-year property tax break on the buildings, which will be a full abatement the first year before getting smaller over the years that follow. The Hancock County Council unanimously approved the abatement in September and will hold a second vote on Oct. 9.

Council members placed a stipulation on the abatement requiring building permits to be issued within seven years; otherwise, Ambrose would have to reappear before the council.

The county’s redevelopment commission voted unanimously to pass a positive recommendation on the abatement to the county council. Redevelopment commission members considered the matter because the land for Ambrose Property Group’s request falls within a county tax increment financing district, where certain tax funds get funneled for improvement projects that the commission oversees.

Sanders said one of the first questions potential clients often ask Ambrose is whether there’s a tax abatement on the property.

“Help us make this investment,” he said to the redevelopment commission members before the vote. “Allow us to have a 10-year tax abatement on all four properties so as these exciting clients come to us, we can check that box early on in the process and keep Hancock County, keep Ambrose, keep Mt. Comfort in that conversation.”

The project follows two 226,000-square-foot spec buildings Indianapolis-based GDI Construction is planning off the west side of Mt. Comfort Road north of County Road 400 North. Lauth Property Group, out of Carmel, is planning a 280,000-square-foot property at the northwest corner of County Roads 700W and 350N.

Indianapolis-based Shear Property Group finished a 400,000-square-foot spec building at 6278 W. County Road 300N last year. Integrated Supply Network, an automotive parts manufacturer, and Quest Nutrition, a food distributor, agreed to lease the building before it was done. Both conduct distribution operations at the property.
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