By Stuart Hirsch
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. — Myers and Ford Autoworld executives and city officials Tuesday turned the first shovelfuls of dirt for a redevelopment project that will transform an abandoned industrial brownfield into a sleek, new automotive superstore by next year.
The new dealership buildings will occupy about 48,000 square feet of space on the former General Motors Plant 11 site at South Scatterfield Road and 32nd Street, but the total project footprint when complete next year will be about 250,000 square feet.
Autoworld President Mary Jamerson expects to invest $7.5 million in the new dealerships and eventually create up to 30 new jobs.
Flanked by key members of her Myers Autoworld and Ford Autoworld dealerships staff, Jamerson said she is thrilled to be part of a rebirth of a part of Anderson that has struggled since the departure of General Motors.
“It’s a milestone for our company and a milestone for our community that we can bring this once-prosperous land back to prosperity again for our community. We’re excited,” Jamerson said. “I can promise you that no building in the world will be built with more loving hands than these.”
Mayor Kevin Smith said Jamerson’s decision to relocate her dealerships on industrial brownfield land actually marks the reuse of more than 200 acres that represent prime land for development on “one of the highest traffic count roads that we have in the city.”
Jamerson’s decision to build on the former GM factory site activates the state’s last-granted CRED — Community Revitalization Enhancement District — zone, which has gone unused for nearly 8 years.
In a CRED district, the city can collect any sales tax that would normally go to the state — up to a maximum annual amount of $750,000 — and use that money to build infrastructure within the district, making it more attractive to other developers.
That’s one of the things that will occur as Jamerson’s new dealerships begin to take shape.
Anderson will invest approximately $1.5 million in improvements on Scatterfield Road, including at least three commercial access points; and will also invest $1 million to relocate electric and other utilities, said Greg Winkler, interim economic development director.
“What this project that Mary Jamerson has brought to the city allows us, as a group of citizens, to capture revenues that we would not have had otherwise,” Smith said. “Mary Jamerson and her team are at the forefront of that.”
Jamerson said she hopes to have the dealerships under roof by winter, and open sometime early next year.
After that, the company plans to donate one of its current buildings on North Broadway to Ivy Tech Community College, which plans to use the location for its automotive training facility.
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