Thursday, March 06, 2014

Code Named Mystery Business Withdraws Petition For Abatement In Portage

There's a very peculiar story coming out of Northwest Indiana about a company code named "Noserus" by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, which had sought approval of the Portage city council for a tax abatement for construction of a $25 million facility and the purchase of  $40 million in new manufacturing equipment to be located in the city's Northside Business Park. The unidentified company with a business address listed in a multi-tenant office building in Merrillville withdrew its petition for a tax abatement shortly before Tuesday night's council meeting after the city's Redevelopment Commission last week approved the sale of 43 acres of land in the business park for $60,000 an acre to the unidentified business.

The reason the company withdrew the petition was not known according to the city' economic development director, A.J. Monroe. What's more peculiar, however, is that any vote to award a tax abatement could be considered when the name of the company is only identified by a code name. There was a representative listed on the application for the abatement for the business at the Merrillville office address who did not return calls to the Northwest Indiana Times, but the identity of that representative wasn't included in the news story. According to the story, the company would require zoning changes and possible variances if it decided to located in the business park. A story in late February first mentioned the mystery business:
The city's Redevelopment Commission this week approved the sale of up to 43 acres at the Northside Business Park to an unnamed company.
Economic Development Consultant John Shepherd told the commission that there is a prospect interested in parcel C in the commission-owned development on the west side of Ind. 249, across from AmeriPlex at the Port.
Shepherd said Noserus is an Indiana Economic Development Corp.-developed prospect. Noserus is not the company's name, but a code name given to the project by the IDEC.
A request for Noserus to receive personal property and real estate tax abatements from the city is on the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting.
Shepherd said he couldn't say any more about the company, what it does or the prospects of Portage landing the development. He said the sale of the land is contingent on the company deciding to locate here and making its way through whatever approvals may be necessary.
A message left with an IDEC representative for additional information was not returned Thursday.
If the company were to decide to locate in Portage, it would pay $60,000 per acre for the property.
In addition, the RDC approved the hiring of Matt Reardon of SEH of Munster, to act as the city's representative in the development of the project.
"We want to make sure we get the quality project we want," said Mayor James Snyder, who chairs the commission . . .
This blog has highlighted in the past questionable public support of business projects with economic development incentives for businesses with checkered pasts or no track record at all, but in each of those cases local officials knew to whom they were voting to award those economic development incentives. How can you support public incentives for a business that can't even be publicly identified?

No comments: