The Journal Gazette
Friday, October 15, 2021 1:00 am

Proposal fills need, planners told

Board weighing possible industrial site near airport


A dearth of available industrial sites in Allen County was offered Thursday as a reason the county plan commission should approve a shovel-ready industrial park on 160 acres on Pleasant Center Road in Pleasant Township.

And no, the proposed park's name, “Project Prime,” does not refer to Amazon, which uses “Prime” in the name of its upgraded delivery service.

The name refers instead to what developers believe is a prime candidate for industrial use, said Zach Kessie, vice president of business development for Michael Kinder & Sons of Fort Wayne.

He told The Journal Gazette after the meeting the site is attractive for being near Fort Wayne International Airport, Interstates 469 and 69 and other large industries, including General Mills and General Motors.

The site on the north side of Pleasant Center Road lies just east of the Walmart milk processing plant.  

Brian Bean, broker associate for The Zacher Co. in Fort Wayne told plan commission members that only about 16 available industrial sites exist in the county. Many have feasibility constraints or obsolete buildings, he said.

Bean called the situation “an extreme undersupply” for a market eagerly seeking such sites. The county's vacancy rate for industrial sites is about 3%, far under a typical 10%, he said. 

Project Prime, which consists of 11 parcels divided into 14 sites, including one of 80 acres, is being proposed by PB Development of Fort Wayne. No buildings or possible buyers/tenants have been proposed, but Kessie said two or three have expressed interest in the smaller sites and about that many for the larger site. 

Representing the applicant, Nathan Deig of Jones Petrie Rafinski of Fort Wayne, said the development will use dry detention areas and abide by height, lighting and emissions standards of the two airport overlay districts in which the sites are located.

Planning staff members pointed out the site is now accessed only by a proposed extension of McFadden Way. To be approved, the development would need to include at least a proposed legal entrance from Pleasant Center Road. The McFadden Way access would need to be approved through a plan commission waiver of development standards.

The staff also suggested a written commitment limiting industrial uses to the developer, who is seeking rezoning from agricultural to general industrial and approval of a primary development plan.   

Tom Wyss, a resident who lives on Winters Road, was the only person to speak in opposition, saying he was concerned about light and noise pollution. He also said he hoped a nearby woods would be undisturbed.

The project will be up for a vote Oct. 21 during the commission's business meeting at 1 p.m. in Room 30 of Citizens Square.

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