HANCOCK COUNTY — Two developers are planning a total of six more speculative buildings in the western part of the county, adding to a burgeoning number of such structures.

Carmel-based Lauth Property Group wants to develop four move-in-ready properties near its 280,000-square foot building underway at the northwest corner of County Roads 700W and 350N.

Brady Jacoba, vice president of business development for Lauth, said at a Hancock County Council meeting last week that the new buildings will go to the west and south of the company’s current project.

“We’re really kind of building out a nice little park, if you will, in that area,” Jacoba said.

Randy Sorrell, executive director of the Hancock Economic Development Council, told the Daily Reporter that one of the buildings will be 235,000 square feet and the other three will be 435,000 square feet.

Jacoba did not return a request for comment and Sorrell did not yet know Lauth’s estimated investment in the new buildings, but he said it would be included in an application the company will file for a tax abatement it’s seeking.

Jacoba also told county council members that Lauth’s current project will be finished this summer. He said the company is confident that, notwithstanding the current economic conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the building will be leased pretty quickly based on the amount of interest shown so far.

Red Rock Investment Partners, LLC of Charlotte, North Carolina, wants to develop two speculative buildings on about 46 acres west of 700W and north of 200N.

Sorrell said one of the buildings will be 442,624 square feet and is estimated to cost $24.3 million. The other will be 636,272 square feet with the ability to expand another 401,586 square feet and is estimated to cost $55 million.

The county council approved a 10-year property tax abatement for Red Rock Investment Partners’ proposal on the second of two readings. Council members also approved a 10-year abatement for Lauth’s proposal on the first of two readings. The abatements will consist of a full tax break for the properties for the first year after they’re developed before decreasing by 10 percentage points over the years that follow.

Bill Bolander, president of the Hancock County Council, was among the officials who voted unanimously in favor of the abatements.

“That’s a pretty good amount of buildings that we’ll be able to fully tax by the end of 10 years,” he told the Daily Reporter.

Bolander added that the developers’ plans give him confidence in uncertain economic times created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think a lot of these big developers think eventually this will pass and everything will be coming back,” he said. “I don’t think they would be doing it if they thought everything was going to fold.”

The latest projects make for a total of 27 spec buildings in western Hancock County that developers have proposed over the past 18 months.
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