Portage Prairie continues to expand


Business park sees more new tenants

SOUTH BEND — North of the South Bend International Airport, where corn and soybeans once grew, hulking steel structures now rise in their place.

The ongoing development of the Portage Prairie Business Park has focused on a specific sector: logistics and distribution.

Located on the east side of U.S. 31 and also known as Ameriplex at Interstate 80/90, the park is only two miles north of Interstate 80/90.

With two FedEx facilities, ChasePlastics, Pepsi and Hubbel-Raco already at the park, developed by Holladay Properties, local real estate development firm Great Lakes Capital (GLC) plans to continue expansion, attracting jobs and leasing out two new facilities next year.

A new 210,420 square foot distribution facility leased to AM General was the first GLC-owned structure there earlier this year.

North of Adams Road, on the east side of the St. Joseph Valley Parkway, a second facility is nearing completion. The new building already has a tenant, CTDI, which is a Pennsylvania-based engineering, repair and logistics company. By January, CTDI expects to move into the building that will house distribution as well as testing and refurbishment of communications products. According to the city’s development agreement for the site, at least 150 jobs are expected to be created at the CTDI location.

On Dec. 11, ground will be broken for another distribution facility that will be nearly identical to the neighboring AM General warehouse. The site is being developed with the help of a six-year tax abatement from the city and $450,000 in TIF money to improve sewer and drainage infrastructure in the business park.

Great Lakes Capital development director Jeff Smoke said the company is already speaking with prospective tenants.

“Once people see that there is actually a building going up, tenets begin to get interested,” Smoke said. “With AM General, we had worked out the lease just five to six months after construction began.”

South Bend Regional Chamber of Commerce director Jeff Rea said the development of the distribution park goes back to the creation of the Portage Prairie Master Plan about 15 years ago.

“It’s been an industry that we’ve tried really hard to attract,” Rea said. “I’d say our proximity and our location in the middle of the Indy, Detroit and Chicago marketplaces has made it a really decent location.”

South Bend director of business development Dan Buckenmeyer said the public investment that has aided some of the infrastructure development in the area fits right in with the Department of Community Investment’s mission to help provide quality job opportunities to residents.

“We don’t have inventory like this elsewhere in the city,” Buckenmeyer said about the new warehouse facilities. “We recognize the risk that GLC and any developer takes, and we work with them to try to mitigate that risk, because this benefits the South Bend area.”

Read the full article by  Caleb Bauer at SouthBendTribune.com