Price of Casad Depot was too much for New Haven, but not for Fort Wayne developer

The former Casad Depot east of New Haven has a new owner. (News-Sentinel.com file photo)
Bill Bean, owner of Fort Wayne's tallest building, will soon own a potentially attractive industrial site, too. (News-Sentinel.com file photo by Kevin Leininger)

The federal government’s asking price was way to too high for New Haven Mayor Terry McDonald, but not for one of Fort Wayne’s commercial and industrial developers.

And as a result of its apparently successful $3.075 million offer, Hanning & Bean Enterprises will soon be the new owner of the 259-acre former Casad Depot. In an auction conducted by the U.S. General Services Administration that ended last week, the company outbid four other contenders.

The city of New Haven was not among them, however, after McDonald concluded the minimum $2.3 million bid was far too high — especially when many of the depot’s existing buildings are in poor condition and New Haven could have been liable for environmental clean-up costs McDonald estimated at between $4 million and $6 million.

Hanning & Bean’s Bill Bean insists he isn’t concerned.

“(The clean up) should be manageable; the federal government has already done a significant amount (of remediation),” said Bean, who already owns 100 adjacent acres, along with Fort Wayne’s tallest building, the Indiana Michigan Power Center, among other properties.

Bean said he has no immediate plans for the depot, but said it could be used in several ways, including storage or development as an industrial park. Its proximity to utilities and major highways such as U.S. 24, U.S. 30 and I-469 make it a prime location, Bean noted.

RELATED: New Haven still wants to buy the old Casad Depot for development, but not for the $2.3M Washington wants

RELATED: KEVIN LEININGER: ‘Failure’ of one industrial dream could help New Haven land another one

The complex contains multiple buildings totaling about 712,246 square feet. Two of the structures on the site contain an additional 345,600 square feet of space, but are in unsound condition and will probably have to be razed. The site also contains 13.1 miles of railroad tracks with switches, concrete sidewalks and roads, lighting and fencing surrounding the property.

After McDonald passed on trying to acquire Casad, New Haven’s focus shifted to the possibility of developing an industrial park on 175 acres near U.S. 30 and Doyle Road owned by the Lomont family. The site will remain privately owned but New Haven is working to annex the property and could help provide infrastructure. The Capital Improvement Board recently agreed to allow the city to use $1 million previously earmarked for Casad acquisition for that purpose instead.

Local economic development officials have said Allen County needs the sort of large, well-equipped industrial spaces both projects could provide.

Bean said the Casad sale could close within 60 days. The facility was created during World War II to store strategic materials but closed in 2011 after the federal government sold its 440,000-ton stockpile of talc, cadmium, titanium and other items. Last to go was 614 tons of mercury McDonald never wanted there in the first place.


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