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New Haven truck plaza up, rolling

Pilot Flying J opened a 21-pump travel plaza in New Haven on Monday. The center, which includes a sit-down restaurant and other food options, employs 79 part time and 37 full time.

The plaza offers a driver’s lounge, a convenience store, private showers and laundry facilities. It also includes a Subway sandwich shop and sells Cinnabon cinnamon rolls.

The Huddle House restaurant, which will open Monday, will sell breakfast, lunch and dinner platters, similar to a Bob Evans. The truck plaza will have two sides: one designated for tractor-trailer rigs and one for cars and RVs. Nine lanes will be for diesel fuel, and 12 pumps will dispense gasoline.

The travel plaza – off Interstate 469 and U.S. 30 at Exit 19 – is expected to contribute more than $3.5 million annually in state and local taxes.

Carmike closes deal on Rave, other sites

Carmike Cinemas Inc. has finalized a $19 million cash deal to acquire 16 theaters including one in Fort Wayne, an official said.

The transaction with Reviews Cinemas LLC, originally announced last month, means name and signage changes for the Rave theater at Jefferson Pointe, as well as another site in Plainfield. Columbus, Ga.-based Carmike is making a push to expand through acquisitions, spokesman Robert Rinderman said.

Others Rave locations are in Alabama, Florida, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas.

Rave opened in 2001 at Jefferson Pointe. Carmike 20, 3930 E. Dupont Road, opened its doors in 2005. Ticket prices vary at Carmike and Rave.

Office Depot revamps its Northcrest location

Office Depot has redesigned its Northcrest Shopping Center store, reducing the size to make it “more convenient for customers to shop,” the retailer said Tuesday.

The original store was more than 32,000 square feet; the redesigned store has been reduced to about 18,000 square feet.

The store employs about 30 and houses nearly 9,800 products such as furniture, office supplies and technology.

The store also has a Tech Depot consultation table to help customers with their technology questions.

Damage from an August electrical fire had forced the closure of the Northcrest store.

Office Depot has three other locations in Fort Wayne: 6316 W. Jefferson Blvd., 10290 Maysville Road and 10027 Lima Road.

Homebuilders surge on housing starts

Shares of homebuilders and home construction supply companies got a lift Tuesday from a report that builders started construction last month on the most homes and apartments since July 2008.

Persistently low mortgage interest rates and a limited supply of homes in many markets have helped drive sales of new and previously occupied homes on pace to eclipse last year’s sales, which sank to the lowest level in decades.

The increased demand for homes has helped fuel new home construction, benefiting homebuilders and the companies that supply everything from lumber to drywall and flooring.

On Tuesday, the Commerce Department said that builders broke ground on homes in October at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 894,000.

That 3.6 percent gain from September was driven by a 10 percent increase in apartment construction.