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Local automotive supplier in line for new city incentive

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A vacant industrial building on the city’s near-west side that’s been damaged by vandals is expected to get a second lease on life thanks to a new property-tax abatement available from the city of Indianapolis.

The 84,000-square-foot warehouse at 1850 Oliver Ave. is set to be purchased and rehabbed by Van’s Electrical Systems, a supplier of automotive components, pending approval by Metropolitan Development Commission members May 16. MDC staff have blessed the abatement.

What’s unusual about the three-year abatement is that it would be the first given by the city under a program passed by the Legislature in 2011. The incentive allows an owner to pay no property taxes for three years if a building is at least 50,000 square feet and is still vacant after being on the market for more than a year.

The goal is to attract tenants to older, unoccupied industrial or commercial buildings that typically would not qualify for normal tax abatements. The warehouse at 1850 Oliver Ave. was built in 1983.

The abatement won’t result in a lot of new jobs—just five, paying $14.71 per hour. Twenty-two retained positions pay $17.45 per hour. But the benefits extend beyond employment figures, said Ryan Hunt, the MDC’s senior project manager.

“When a building stays vacant for a long time, there can be vandalism,” Hunt said. “In this case, it was pretty extensive.”

Thieves stripped the building of its electrical wiring, air-conditioners and copper wiring.

A paper company moved out of the warehouse a few years ago, and the building’s out-of-state owner had let it slide into foreclosure.

A normal abatement that typically is longer than three years wouldn’t benefit Van’s as much because the $427,000 the company will spend to refurbish the building will increase the assessed valuation only $149,450, Hunt said.

Van’s is expected to save $155,644 in property taxes during the three years.

Company President Andrew Van Vlymen declined to discuss the incentive prior to its approval.

Van’s is located at 2541 Kentucky Ave. on the southwest side, south of the company’s proposed new location on Oliver Avenue. The company has committed to the city to find a buyer for its old location.

Founded in 1959 by Van Vlyman’s father, Marvin Van Vlymen Sr., Van’s supplies vehicle electrical systems made by 45 manufacturers. Andrew’s brother, Stephen, also is involved in the family business.
 

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