Greenfield community hoping shell building brings new companies to area

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GREENFIELD, Ind. - City leaders in Greenfield are in the process of approving plans for a shell building, or an empty facility ready for an employer to move into, with the hopes of attracting a new company to the area.

“It’s good that we don’t have vacant square footage, but it’s also bad we don’t have vacant square footage because we have no place to put clients," said Executive Director for the Hancock County Economic Development Council Skip Kuker.

Kuker is helping to spearhead the project and said this is a practice more than a dozen of communities in Indiana have done.

"(The shell building) is something that adds to our ability to add more employers to our community," he said.

Kuker along with the Greenfield Redevelopment Commission is currently looking at two possible sites for the facility. They hope to have a site selected by the end of the August. Once a sight is chosen, the commission will have to approve the final plans for the project.

Currently, city leaders are looking to build a 50,000 sq. ft. facility that would have the ability to expand to 200,000 sq. ft.  The inside of the building would be empty to allow a variety of different industries to move in. The current price tag for the project is estimated between $2.5 and $3 million depending on the price of the land, Kuker said.

Based off of companies' recent interest in Greenfield, Kuker believes once the building is constructed, it won't stay empty very long. However, even if a company doesn't immediately fill the facility, Kuker said there are other benefits the shell building provides by just getting Greenfield in the conversation as a possible destination.

“(Companies) may not go for the shell building, but they may go for the empty lot across the street because you have the amenities, the workforce looks good and you have the transportation corridors. Those are things that a company may look at other than just your shell building."

But some residents aren't on board with the project. Long-time Greenfield resident John Kaiser believes the government shouldn't get involved in a project like this and should leave it to the private sector.

"I don’t think the local government should be building something on the hopes of somebody coming and taking it over," Kaiser said.

He'll have a chance to voice his concerns along with other community members once the Greenfield Redevelopment Commission picks a date to vote on a final location for the facility.