A new $25 million Fed Ex Ground regional distribution center east of New Haven will create about 87 part-time jobs and anchor the “Gateway Park” project expected to draw still more development to a 65-acre site earmarked for a controversial travel plaza in 2007.
As The News-Sentinel reported in November, a Wisconsin development firm had asked New Haven's Plan Commission to approve construction of a distribution center near Indiana 930 and Minnich Road, part of which would have become a Flying J plaza had the city not rejected the proposal six years ago. But the identity of RDC National's client has now been revealed in an application for tax “phase-ins” filed with the Allen County Department of Planning Services.
According to the application, Fed Ex will invest about $12.5 million in a new 178,000-square-foot distribution center on about 40 acres. The company will spend a similar amount on equipment needed to handle, sort and distribute materials shipped by the company.
The currently vacant site now generates $2,162 in annual property taxes but that amount will increase to about $359,375 after the project is completed. If approved, the phase-in – previously called an abatement – will reduce Fed Ex's taxes on the building and equipment by $1.5 million over five years.
Since 2003 the company has been located at 2742 Wayne Haven St in a facility that was 10 times larger than its previous location. But Fed Ex has now outgrown the Wayne Haven facility, Mayor Terry McDonald said.
“This is a good investment, and we hope it is one of a series of investments in that area,” McDonald said, adding that restaurants or other commercial developments are also expected. “We extended Minnich Road 13 or 14 years ago, and development is finally getting there.”
Fed Ex's New Haven facility currently has about 34 full-time employees. Most of the new jobs will pay between $11 and $12 an hour, with no benefits.
But those relatively modest salaries belie the project's value to New Haven, McDonald said.
In addition to the investment, taxes, and additional projects expected to come to a area to be called “Gateway Park,” Fed Ex will also hire additional drivers. Most of the packages shipped through the facility originate outside Allen County.
Construction is expected to begin in May, with completion by Sept. 1 of next year.
Despite New Haven's rejection of its original proposal, Flying J finally opened a plaza at U.S. 30 and Doyle Road late last year.